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Q.What makes an advertisement deceptive?

A.The federal advertising laws prohibit deceptive advertising. According to the FTC, an ad is deceptive if it contains a statement, or omits information, that: (a) is likely to mislead the reasonable consumer; and (b) is "material" (important to a consumer's decision to buy or use the product/service). When the FTC receives a complaint regarding a particular advertisement, it will look at the ad to determine what message(s), both express and implied, the advertisement is conveying to the "reasonable consumer." Generally, advertising laws require advertisers to have proof to back up both their express and implied claims before the ad runs. If the advertisement omits material information so as to leave the average consumer with a false impression about the product, or if the advertiser lacks sufficient evidence to substantiate its claims, the FTC may find the ad to be deceptive.

This article explains deceptive advertising laws, false advertising laws, and online advertising law.

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