April 17, 2024

How your business can avoid false and misleading advertising

Marketing is one of the most important and troublesome aspects of a business, requiring creativity and expertise to capture the attention of the target audience. Advertising is one of the main ways to do this but can often lead to complaints.

Each year, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) receive tens of thousands of complaints. Roughly half of the complaints and two-thirds of the cases relate to advertising media, proving misleading advertising is something that consumers are taking seriously.

Businesses, therefore, need to bear in mind the effects of their marketing techniques and should avoid trying to mislead consumers in their efforts. But what can you actually do to prevent this? Here are some of our suggestions for how to avoid the most common mistakes.

Don’t omit crucial information

If the product that you intend to sell comes with terms and conditions, these should be clearly shown within the advertisement. You need to provide as much information and detail as before people make a purchase.

If customers feel that they have been lied to or allowed to purchase something that is not what was shown to them, they may be within their rights to take legal action. An experienced team of litigation lawyers can provide guidance during these situations and also shed light on important compliance and legislative issues.

Ensure pricing is clear

The cost of the product must be correct if stated in the advertisement, including all non-optional charges like VAT and booking fees. It should also state any delivery fees that will be added, preferably before the final checkout of the item.

The one thing that gets businesses in the most trouble is the pricing. It’s illegal to bait and switch – that is, entice a customer to your site or store with a great price for it to then be replaced with another when purchasing the item.

Don’t inflate the capability of the product

Obviously, you want to present your product in the best possible light. But you must do it in a way that doesn’t mislead the consumer. Obvious exaggerations that the average consumer wouldn’t take seriously are typically allowed through.

What isn’t permitted are unsubstantiated claims that a product will be able to perform a certain function. Any unproven benefits that are advertised could become problematic once consumers find these to be false.

Provide evidence to back up any claims

Before signing off and running advertisements, you must ensure that you have sufficient evidence to back up any objective claims you intend to make. The required level of evidence will depend on the type and number of claims being made.

Any products within the health, beauty, or skincare industry will likely necessitate more evidence to demonstrate any benefits. Try to bear in mind what customers are likely going to focus on and what impressions could be formed.