Types of Consumer Protection Claims
Consumer fraud class action lawsuits encompass the different types of deceptive marketing practices used in the food and beverage industry. Customers have the right to expect fair and truthful advertising in order to make well-informed decisions about the products they purchase.
Whether a customer purchased a product under false pretenses due to the advertising that they saw or heard or a customer bought a product thinking it was healthy due to a misleading label, that consumer can seek to be compensated by the company that sold the products for it’s deceptive, unfair, and false merchandising practices.
A class action lawsuit may be filed on behalf of the plaintiff or plaintiffs who were seriously affected. Courts may require that the offending company pay financial compensation. The company may also be forced to refrain from any further false or misleading advertising or to publish advertisements or notices that correct the misleading or false advertisements.
One form of deceptive marketing that is often seen but prohibited by state and federal consumer protection laws is false advertising. False advertising may be seen in newspapers, magazines, emails, online ads, and other types of written materials or media, TV or radio ads, and billboards. With so many options for the distribution of false advertisements, companies have developed a number of strategies and techniques to employ this scheme. These include:
- Bait and switch ads
- Ads that fail to disclose material information
- Ads that falsely portray products as better than others of their kind
- Ads that consumers may find confusing when it comes to the identity, seller, or manufacturer of the product
- Misrepresentation or confusion of a product’s cost
- Failure to disclose or a misleading representation of added costs associated with the purchase of a product
This is not an exhaustive list of the methods by which companies may falsely advertise their products, but these techniques are illegal and any losses incurred because of them should be compensated by the company.
As a consumer walks through the grocery store, they will likely be reading labels for the products that they want to purchase. Many people choose to buy products based on the labeling because they are advertised as healthy or natural. Unfortunately, many of these labels and the terms they use are misleading, and they prey on the fears of consumers for eating or drinking something unhealthy. Some of the most commonly seen misleading labels include:
- Farm fresh
- Naturally sweetened
When consumers buy these products with the expectation that they are healthy for themselves and their families, they may actually be putting their families at risk. For example, products that are labeled as “all-natural” sound great for the consumer because they believe they are avoiding chemicals, preservatives, and unnatural ingredients. However, there are “natural” ingredients that are quite harmful as well, such as the cancer-causing chemical glyphosate. While this is a natural substance, it can be very dangerous to consume, and companies that label products that contain this chemical as “natural” are certainly misleading their customers.
In 1966, the federal Fair Packaging and Labeling Act was passed, which requires the labels on consumer products to state the:
- Identity of the product
- Name and place of business of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor
- Net of quantity of content (in metric and U.S. units)
With these requirements in place, consumers are meant to feel safer when purchasing products because there should be less chance to be misled or fall for false advertising.