Consumers rely on truthful advertising to help them decide what products to buy. Unfortunately, some companies misrepresent their products and services, making it difficult or impossible for individuals to base purchases on informed decisions.
Florida’s laws protect consumers from deceptive advertising. Getting a settlement or winning a lawsuit, however, is not easy because consumers have to prove that they have been negatively affected by the misleading ads. Having an experienced law firm on your side can help prove that an advertisement misled you and resulted in negative repercussions. Having a law firm on your side can also give you the bargaining power needed to get the compensation you deserve, whether it comes from a settlement or a lawsuit.
Florida and Federal Laws Against Deceptive Advertising
A Florida code from 2010 says that the state uses “the standards of unfairness and deception set forth and interpreted by the Federal Trade Commission or the federal courts.” In other words, Florida follows the federal definition of deceptive advertising.
The FTC says that all ads must be truthful regardless of where they appear. Advertisements on television, radio and the Internet must offer honest information without misleading consumers. When possible, claims made in advertisements should include scientific evidence supporting those claims.
The FTC pays special attention to products that could affect consumers’ health. The federal agency, therefore, spends much of its time investigating claims made by companies that sell:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Tobacco products
- Dietary supplements
- Over-the-counter medications
This does not mean that consumers can pursue compensation only for false claims made about these specific products. They potentially can seek compensation for health and financial damages caused by any misleading advertisement.
Penalties for Deceptive Advertising in Florida
Florida has three possible penalties for companies found guilty of deceptive advertising. Deceptive advertisers face:
- A fine up to $10,000 for each violation.
- Paying the plaintiff’s attorney’s fees.
- Paying the actual damages caused by the deceptive advertisement.
Actual damages include compensation for all losses directly connected to the false advertisement. For instance, if a car dealership makes false claims about a vehicle, the dealership may have to repay the full price of the vehicle. If a company that sells over-the-counter drugs makes unfounded claims that harm someone’s health, then the advertiser could be held responsible for the full cost of medical treatment, lost wages and other expenses.
Consumers should know that retailers are not always held accountable for deceptive advertising. Many retailers base their advertisements on information supplied by manufacturers. Retail stores accept these claims on good faith, so they are not responsible for inaccurate statements based on the information they receive. The manufacturer, however, may be responsible.
Seeking Compensation for Deceptive Advertising Damages
Despite federal and state laws protecting consumers from deceptive advertising, it is often difficult to prove that a company intentionally misrepresented its products and services. An individual seeking compensation without legal counsel will have a very difficult time confronting the legal team of a large company that wants to protect itself and its investors.
This makes it important for consumers to find a law firm that has experience handling deceptive advertising cases. At Montero Law, your case will receive the attention it deserves. Your lawyer may suggest seeking compensation through the court system. Many people are wary of this because it often means accumulating legal bills. Luckily, Florida law can force guilty companies to pay for all legal services.
If you believe you have experienced physical or financial damages because of deceptive advertising practices, contact Montero Law to learn more about your options. The sooner you seek counsel, the sooner you can get the compensation you deserve.