Dec. 31, 2022
Fake advertising, also known as deceptive advertising, is a form of false advertising in which a business makes false or misleading statements about its products or services in order to deceive consumers and persuade them to make a purchase. This can include making false or exaggerated claims about the benefits or characteristics of the product, failing to disclose important information about the product or service, or using deceptive or misleading imagery or language in advertising materials.
False advertising is illegal under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act and other state and federal laws. Consumers who are harmed by fake advertising have the right to bring a legal action against the business in order to recover damages and hold the business accountable for its deceptive practices. If you believe that you have been a victim of fake advertising in New Jersey, you should consider seeking legal advice to determine your options for pursuing a claim.
Consumer Fraud Act
The CFA is a state law that provides legal protection for consumers against deceptive or fraudulent practices by businesses. It applies to a wide range of transactions, including sales, advertising, and credit, and it gives consumers the right to bring legal action against businesses that engage in fraudulent or deceptive practices.
Under the Act, a business can be held liable for damages if it engages in any of the following activities:
Falsely representing the characteristics, ingredients, uses, benefits, alterations, or quantities of goods or services offered for sale
Falsely representing the price of goods or services offered for sale
Representing that goods or services have sponsorship, approval, performance characteristics, accessories, uses, or benefits that they do not have
Representing that goods or services are of a particular standard, quality, or grade, or that they are new, if they are not
Disparaging the goods, services, or business of another by false or misleading representation of fact
Advertising goods or services with intent not to sell them as advertised
Advertising goods or services with intent not to supply reasonably expectable public demand, unless the advertisement discloses a limitation of quantity
Making false or misleading statements of fact concerning the reasons for, existence of, or amounts of price reductions
The Act also provides for the recovery of treble (three times) actual damages, attorney's fees, and costs by the consumer if they are successful in their legal action.
Breach of Contract
In New Jersey, a commercial advertisement is not considered to be a binding contract unless it specifically states that it is an offer to enter into a contract and includes all of the material terms of the contract, including the price. If the advertisement includes a material omission, such as the price, it is not considered to be a binding contract.
In order for a contract to be formed in New Jersey, there must be an offer, acceptance, and consideration (something of value given in exchange for the promise). If any of these elements is missing, there is no contract.
If a seller makes a typo or other mistake in the price of a product or service that is advertised or offered for sale, the seller is not necessarily bound to sell the product or service at the incorrect price.
Under the doctrine of "mistake," a contract may be void or voidable if there was a mistake made by one of the parties that was material to the contract and that affected the parties' mutual understanding of the terms of the contract.
If a seller makes a mistake in the price of a product or service that is advertised or offered for sale, the seller may be able to argue that the contract is void or voidable due to mistake. However, whether the contract will be deemed void or voidable will depend on the specific circumstances of the case, including the nature and extent of the mistake and the impact it had on the parties' understanding of the terms of the contract.
Proving False Advertisement
To prove false advertising in New Jersey, you will need to show that the business made false or misleading statements about their goods or services, and that you relied on these statements when making your purchasing decision. You will also need to show that you were harmed by the false or misleading statements, either by paying more for the product or service than it was worth, or by not receiving the benefits or characteristics that were promised.
There are several types of evidence that may be helpful in proving false advertising in New Jersey, including:
Advertising materials, such as brochures, flyers, or website content, that contain the false or misleading statements
Sales receipts or other documents that show the price you paid for the product or service
Testimony from experts or other individuals who can speak to the false or misleading nature of the statements made by the business
Evidence of the harm you suffered as a result of the false or misleading statements, such as out-of-pocket expenses or lost time or wages
Statute of Limitations
In New Jersey, the statute of limitations for a breach of contract claim is generally six years. This means that a person has six years from the date of the breach to file a lawsuit seeking damages for the breach.
It may also be helpful to consult with an attorney who is familiar with the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act and can advise you on the best way to proceed with your case.