What Constitutes Misleading Advertising?
Misleading advertising is a statement by a company or party about a product’s purpose, quality, or price that is:
Federal and state laws make misleading or deceptive advertising illegal. The Federal Trade Commission, with the Food and Drug Administration, specifically looks closely at supplements, devices, and foods related to health and fitness. When a product claims that it can treat a disease, control weight, or improve a condition, the product should perform as advertised. The number of claims could increase as people turn to dietary supplements that promise health benefits to avoid expensive medical care and prescription medications.
Untruthful or deceptive claims about dietary supplements by manufacturers and retailers can be dangerous. If a consumer relies on this information to buy and use the product and suffers an injury, the consumer can sue for damages, including financial losses, pain, and suffering.
Retailers may believe they are immune from lawsuits for false advertising because they did not print the labels or make claims about a product. However, when a retailer is selling a dietary supplement, the retailer could be named as a party in an injury claim. Some of these claims are in the fine print of the dietary supplement. In other cases, a bold statement will be followed by a statement in extremely small print qualifying the deceptive statement.
Any party involved in the manufacture, distribution, or sale of dietary supplements should review the federal and state laws regarding false or misleading advertising. Product labels, boxes, and inserts provide critical information about a supplement. Consumers have the right to expect that the information provided about the product is true. When the information is not true, the law provides a way for consumers to recover compensation for their damages.
Do Advertisements on Television Count?
In some cases, a product’s manufacturer will promote a product on television, radio, or online. Any false or misleading advertising, regardless of the format, is governed by federal and state laws. These laws exist to protect and safeguard consumers.
Therefore, if a male enhancement supplement is advertised on Facebook or Twitter as achieving results that are unproven, unscientific, and unrealistic, the parties involved in that product can be held liable. Likewise, those late-night television ads for male enhancement supplements claiming results that have not been proven through tests and clinical trials can be a problem for retailers and distributors.
Bottom line — If you are selling a dietary supplement, you should be aware of the labeling and advertising to ensure you are not selling a product intentionally marketed with false and misleading information.