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Misleading and deceptive advertising – If it’s not what it says it is on the box, you might want to reconsider you packaging, here’s why…

The creative juices are flowing and finally you get to start communicating with your ideal customers and clients.  Whether you are working on your website, social media, print, television and radio, there are key legal mistakes that should be avoided.

  1. False and Misleading statements.

While it is tempting to promote yourself or your product as the next best thing in the world, it is important to keep it realistic.  Anything that you say about yourself, your business and your products must not be false or misleading.  We all understand the difference between true and false, but the concept of being misleading is broader.

‘Misleading’ can include leaving key information out, or not displaying information prominently.  It can also include encouraging, allowing or leading customers to have an impression that is not accurate.  False and Misleading Statements can lead to penalties, such as one internet service provider who was fined $200,000.00 for not prominently displaying its minimum pricing.

There are restrictions on using certain words in some industries, such as ‘Expert’, ‘Specialist’ and ‘Independent’.  You should ensure that you comply with any additional laws that apply to your industry.

  1. Giving Warranties.

Warranties are essentially a promise that you make about your business. A warranty might also be a guarantee, for example we will give you your money up to 12 months from the date of purchase. When you make warranties or statements that seem to be a promise to a consumer you must be prepared to actually honour that statement / warranty or, you could be seen to have misled the customer about your goods or services.  Any warranties that you do make must also comply with the consumer law guarantees.

  1. Guarantees.

Consumer guarantees are provided in the Consumer Law.  The law provides the standards or guarantees that you must abide by in your business.  If you do not meet those guarantees, then the consumer has remedies against you, such as a refund or compensation.  This includes giving statements or making promises about the quality of goods or services, standards, timeliness, what things can be used for, being better than other products etc.  When you make statements of this nature they could be considered a guarantee. This then gives the customer rights to claim a refund (and potentially compensation) if the guarantee is not met so if you do make guarantees, in addition to those that exist at law, make sure that they can be satisfied.

Download my free tip sheet for a one page summary to assist you when preparing your advertising content.

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