Deceptive advertising refers to the use of confusing or untrue promises by an advertiser in order to mislead the consumer. Deceptive advertising is a type of fraud and is actionable under legislation that is designed to protect the consumer. It is sometimes done inadvertently by an advertiser. However, it is generally done purposely and intended to take advantage of consumers.
This practice has been prevalent for centuries. With the technological advancements in recent years, there is an increased amount of media advertising. Radio, television, and online advertising have become the major forms of product promotion in recent years.
There are basically three types of fraudulent practices that can be used in media advertising. Sometimes, advertisers will mislead consumers with a blatant misstatement of the facts, such as the bait and switch. In this case, the advertiser has no intention of providing the consumer with the product at the advertised price or condition.
Another type of deceptive media advertising occurs when companies include certain hidden fees or surcharges within the language of a contract. These charges are usually so confusing, or embedded within the fine print, that the consumer is completely unaware of them. A claim-belief interaction is a type of fraudulent media advertising where an advertiser will make a claim that leads to a mistaken belief by the consumer.
Online advertising has become a significant issue in deceptive advertising cases in recent years. Oftentimes, this online advertising fraud relates to privacy issues. The Internet allows a variety of purchases to be made online with the promise of businesses to keep this information private. However, this is often not the case. There have been cases where online advertising companies have released this information without consent.
Online advertising fraud has also been found in cases where an Internet site offers fake stock options, credit card services, or fraudulent investment opportunities. Many Internet sites also offer a way to make money at home. This method of media advertising may promise that a person will be able to use his or her personal computer as a way to start a business at home.
For example, filling out surveys is a way that fraudulent online advertising companies will promise consumers compensation. However, it is very unlikely that these advertisers will be able to fulfill their claims.