You probably use some form of marketing or advertising to sell your company’s products and services to the public. Yet, do you know that there are several specific laws that businesses must follow when it comes to advertising? Here’s how to get the word out about your business without exposing it to potential liability.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the main federal agency that enforces advertising laws and regulations. Under the Federal Trade Commission Act:
- Advertising must be truthful and non-deceptive. According to the FTC, an advertisement is deceptive if it contains a misstatement that (1) is likely to mislead consumers acting reasonably under the circumstances; and (2) is “material” – that is, important to a consumer’s decision to buy or use the product.
- Advertisers must have evidence to back up their claims. According to the FTC, before a company runs an advertisement, it must have objective evidence that supports its claim. Advertisements that make health or safety claims must be supported by “competent and reliable scientific evidence.”
- Advertisements cannot be unfair. According to the FTC, an advertisement is unfair if it causes or is likely to cause substantial consumer injury that a consumer could not reasonably avoid; and it is not outweighed by the benefit to consumers.
In addition to these basic principles, there are additional state laws governing advertising. Some industries have specific rules and guidelines as well. Finally, it is important to note that the FTC rules apply to all forms of advertising, including online marketing.
How We Can Help
If you are concerned about the legality of your advertisements or other marketing materials, it is imperative to consult with an experienced business attorney. Our firm can help you achieve your business goals, while also minimizing your liability. CONTACT US TODAY AT (832) 510-2900 TO SCHEDULE A COMPLIMENTARY CONSULTATION.