FALSE ADVERTISING & ITS DANGER

Introduction-An advert is misleading if, by its words or image, it deceives or is likely to deceive and so persuades, or is likely to persuade, you to spend your money or to change how you spend your money (for example, by persuading you to change from one credit card to another). Misleading adverts may: contain lies; leave out or hide important facts; make a promise which will not be carried out; or create a false impression – even though everything in it may be true.

What the law says although there no strong law for that in Nigeria or a particular organization that handle this offence directly, let’s look at the US -One of the duties of the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is to help control all advertising, except that on TV and radio and for certain types of financial investments. They can ask the courts to stop any misleading advert. OFT can only act if they get a complaint about a particular advert. They have no power to get compensation for anyone who may have lost money as a result of a misleading advert.

Useful information

Many men will try almost anything to find a cure for hereditary baldness. One company’s advert for a book and a hair restoring lotion claimed that they could cure baldness. Those who bought the ‘cure’ found it was no more than ‘standing on their head for a short time each day’. OFT took the company to court on the grounds that there is no known cure for baldness, and so the advert was misleading because it was telling lies. Another company advertising slimming pills was also made to stop by the court. Their adverts had been sent to the public in hand-addressed envelopes. The adverts themselves looked as though they had been torn from magazines and had hand-written ‘Post-it’ notes on them saying, ‘You should try this; it really works!’. This gave the impression that they had been sent by a friend. And so the presentation of the advert was misleading. lt was also misleading because it contained lies. Among other things, it made false claims about the amount of weight you would lose and it also referred to scientific tests by a university which didn’t exist. OFT has no power to take any action over a classified advertisement placed in a newspaper by a private individual.

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