Man in a tie at the computer with a pen and paper

Suing a Competitor for False Advertising

William B. Hanley Dec. 27, 2019

Everyone is familiar with commercials and television advertising. From industry to industry, there are thousands of commercials aired every day. These commercials typically present to the viewer their advantages over competitors, such as a better quality burger patty. We are also familiar with the idea that “commercial burgers” and “real-life burgers” look very different from each other, even though they represent the same product. 

Some commercials can present their products or services in deceiving ways to make it seem more attractive to prospective customers, but where is the legal line drawn? If the Big Snac you receive in the drive-thru line doesn’t look half as appetizing as the Big Snac you see in a commercial, is that considered false advertising? What if they deceptively stated that their buns were gluten-free, when in fact they do contain gluten?

Many businesses will come in contact with a piece of their competitor’s advertising, only to discover it is filled with misinformation. Those businesses want to take advantage of their competitors’ wrongdoing by filing a lawsuit against them. Irvine, California Attorney William B. Hanley can answer your questions.

What Qualifies As False Advertising?

When it comes to the delicious burger you see in the commercial vs. the sub-par burger you may receive at the drive-thru window, it is not considered false advertising as long as the ingredients used in the commercial are the actual ingredients used in its restaurants. 

On the other hand, lying about hamburgers having gluten-free buns — when in reality they do not — constitutes false advertising.

Under the Consumer Protection Act of 2007, advertising is seen as misleading if it has false, dishonest, or misleading information that may cause the consumer to act in a way that they wouldn’t without that information. In other words, if misleading information causes the consumer to purchase that product or service, then it’s against the law.

Here are some more examples of false advertising in today’s world of marketing:

  • “Going out of business” sales when the company is, in fact, staying in business

  • Angel dusting: putting the smallest amounts of vitamins or minerals in a drink for it to be labeled as a beneficial beverage

  • Misleading illustrations that make a product seem bigger or smaller than it is. (That’s why you always see “enlarged to show texture” on the front of cereal boxes!)

  • Misuse of terms, including “light,” “natural,” “organic,” or “sugar-free”

  • Hidden fees, terms, or ingredients that aren’t explicitly stated in marketing materials

How to Sue Your Competitor for False Advertising

To provide consumers with honest products and services — and to get a leg up on your competition — filing a lawsuit for misleading information is within your right. You first need to hire an experienced business litigation attorney in the Irvine, California area to help you with your case. Attorney William B. Hanley will help you by striving to prove two things, according to the California Business and Professions Code 17500:

  1. “The person or company made a false or misleading statement in connection with a service, product or the sale of a service/product/property...”

  2. “The person or company knew, or should have known, that the statement was false or misleading.”

No-Nonsense Legal Representation

For more than forty years, William B. Hanley, Attorney at Law, has proven to his peers, colleagues, and clients that he will work continuously and persistently in pursuit of a favorable result for you and your company. Businesses that lie to consumers do not deserve a place in this highly competitive market until they are acting fairly and honestly. Bill will use his knowledge of the law and litigation skills to bring that company to justice. 

Contact William B. Hanley’s office today to schedule a consultation. His Irvine, California office proudly serves the Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties.