Q.What can a company do if a competitor is running a deceptive ad?
A.Advertising laws prohibit everyone from running deceptive advertisements. If a competitor is running an ad you think is deceptive, your can:
- Bring a lawsuit under the Lanham Act for unfair competition.
- File a complaint with the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureau ("BBB"), if your competitor's ad is running nationally or regionally. NAD is a private, self-regulatory group affiliated with the BBB that investigates allegations of deceptive advertising and gives advertisers a mechanism for voluntarily resolving disputes.
- Call your local BBB, or file a complaint with BBBOnLine if the ad runs locally. Many BBBs have procedures for resolving disputes between businesses.
- Contact the radio station, television station, or publication where the ad is being run and inform them that they are running an ad you think may be deceptive.
- Contact your state Attorney General's Office.
- Contact your city, county, or state Office of Consumer Affairs.
- Contact the FTC via telephone at 1-877-FTC-HELP or via mail: Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Response Center, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580. The FTC will carefully review complaints alleging deceptive advertising and false advertising claims so long as it is in the general public's interest. The FTC, however, will keep their investigations of deceptive advertising and false advertising confidential and will not inform you about the status of their inquiry.
Advertising laws esist at the state and federal level and regulate the claims indiduals and companies can make regarding their product or service. Specifically, federal and state advertising laws prohibit false advertising and deceptive ads.