Understanding false advertising law

Business owners in Daytona Beach rely heavily on their companies’ reputations. A claim against that reputation can exact untold damage, leaving executives and decision-makers with every incentive to dispute such assertions. One type of claim that can be particularly harmful is that of false advertising. Thus, it is important that those representing their respective companies understand exactly what the laws defining false advertising in their states entail. 

Per Section 817.44 of the Florida state statutes, a company that advertises to the general public the sale of property (be it real or personal, tangible or intangible) or an offer of professional services as part of a scheme not to provide such property or services as advertised if guilty of false adverting. The same is true if a company advertises a product or service for sale at a specific price with the intention not to sell said service or product at that price. 

Answering accusations of false advertising requires challenging one of two aspects of such a claim: the advertisement and the actual offer. In its Truth in Advertising laws, the Federal Trade Commission defines advertising mediums as the following: 

  • Periodicals
  • Online media
  • Mail
  • Billboards
  • Transportation ads

While not specifically listed, television and radio ads also often fall into this category. What does not is word of mouth. Thus, if word of an offer does not come from a legitimate source, one cannot claim that the failure to meet that offer is false advertising. 

Claims of false advertising also often arise when a company only lists basic or introductory pricing, or list a price offered as part of a promotion. However, businesses are allowed to only advertise special pricing options provided that they offer them to those potential consumers that meet their requirements.