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What types of false advertising are illegal under California law?

Deceptive trade practices are those in which a person or company uses false information to convince a person to purchase their products or utilize their services. Although the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act has not yet been adopted in California, there are state laws that address deceptive trade practices, such as false advertising.

There are a number of ways a company could engage in false advertising. One is deceptive pricing. In such a tactic, the company has a "sale" that is actually not a sale at all. The company may want to sell a product for $100. So, to entice people to purchase the product at that price, the company might price the product at $200 for a short amount of time, and then put the product on "sale" for $100. The point is that the company intended to sell the product at that price from the beginning.

Another type of false advertising is the bait and switch. In this tactic, the company will put an item up for sale at an extremely low price to try to attract customers to the store. However, once there the company will tell the customer that the item is no longer available, but a similar, much more expensive item is. The company will then sell the customer the high-priced item.

A third type of false advertising is low stock. Like the bait and switch, in this tactic the company will put an item up for sale at a low price, but actually will only have a few of these items available. By using this tactic, the company will lure customers in based on the "sale," but ultimately will end up selling the customer something much more expensive.

When it comes to false advertising and other deceptive trade practices, the attorney general or district attorney can take legal action against the company for civil damages and injunctive relief. However, any person can file a lawsuit against a company for deceptive trade practices to pursue injunctive relief or restitution. Therefore, if you believe you were the victim of false advertising, it may pay to contact an attorney, to determine what remedies may be sought.

Source: FindLaw, "California Deceptive Trade Practices Laws," accessed Oct. 1, 2017

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