False Advertising May Cost More Than Credibility

False advertising is defined as “the use of false or misleading statements in advertising, and misrepresentation of the product at hand.” Since advertising has become a common tool for companies, brands must be fully committed to ensuring all promotions and products are accurate.

This past week it was reported that Target will be paying nearly $4 million to settle an ongoing lawsuit. Northern California lawyers filed the suit because they claimed Target’s product prices were higher than originally advertised. In the lawsuit, they are also being accused of pricing differences at the checkout for products that have to be weighed.

A Target spokesman responded by stating that some promotional signs were not removed in a timely manner after the promotion was over, resulting in a advertising a price that was no longer valid. Due to the inaccuracies, the company is dedicating itself to more improved price-accuracy techniques.

In just this year there have been numerous alleged false advertising cases. Cablevision sued Verizon for false WiFi advertising; Vitamin, Supplement Industry is claimed to not properly advertising health risks; and a woman even sued the film Fifty Shades of Grey for misleading expectations.

But how is a company really affected by its false advertising? Consumers can lose trust in the business and the brand may have to pay large amounts to settle lawsuits. For a company as prominent as Target, consumers who once trusted the brand may not any longer. By misleading the public’s perception, it can ultimately change the consumer’s behavior–such as purchasing.

The Federal Trade Commission  works diligently to protect consumers in a competitive market. In 2010, Kellogg’s Rice Krispies had been caught by the FTC for making false health claims on the box of cereal and had to stop advertising until the claims were accurate.

Advertising is initially intended to persuade consumers to act, but when those advertisements are false, it can backfire. Because Target made a public statement that they are working to improve their price-accuracy methods, it is an attempt to maintain their consumers’ credibility.
Do you think there’s a difference between false advertising prices versus health claims?

-Kaitlyn Russell, Hannah Rodgers, Anna Joy Zima

7 thoughts on “False Advertising May Cost More Than Credibility

  1. No, I do not think there are different principals surround the idea of false advertisement. Yes they are on different levels of false advertisement, but both are unethical and unmoral of companies. Companies should be held accountable for their actions no matter how big or small people may perceive them. Imagine if consumers started to allow companies to get away with small false advertisement. Everyone knows if you give someone an inch they will take a mile. What I mean by this is that the companies will test to see how far they can go and start lying about bigger things; therefore, having a bigger impact on us, as consumers, as a whole.

  2. No, I do not think there is a different in false advertising. If you are not telling the truth about one thing it does make it less false if you are not telling the truth about something else. Companies are bad about false advertising. Online it will say one price, then you go into the store and it is a different price. Another example is the weekly adds, it says one price on the add and it is something different when you actually go to purchase it. Sometimes if it is a few dollars people don’t notice that’s why it is always important to pay attention to the bill. There is no different with health claims. If you lie about your priduct or what is it it you can put someones life in danger. There are different cases that might be more of an impact, but like my mom always said a lie is a lie.

  3. I totally agree with the statement that ‘Advertising is initially intended to persuade consumers to act, but when those advertisements are false, it can backfire’. Generally, Too much is as bad as too little. There have been many cases that the company suffer a great loss. It’s also a responsibility of company to check and provide accurate information for their customers. If they once lose credibility due to false advertising whether it was intentional or not, it cause fatal damage to the image.

  4. I think there is definitely a difference between false advertising prices and health risks. It is more of a concern to me involving health issues compared to a false price on an item at Target for obvious reasons, my health. I am a loyal customer to Target, and I have been for 10+ years. I was affected by their credit card crisis in November 2013, however, I still continue to shop there because I prefer their store over Walmart, Food Lion, Lowe’s Food, etc. I liked this blog because I was unaware of this scandal dealing with Target. It has made me aware of their false pricing and I will definitely pay more attention when shopping there in the future.

  5. I think the topic of this post is very important and sometimes overlooked. Sure we hear about it but do we think about the consequences of the actions? Or how it affects the branding of the company? I think companies should be held responsible for their false advertisements. If I am lured into one store thinking I will be getting one price and then find out it is another, I may still end up buying it because I made the trip. However this means I was brought to the store under false pretenses which is wrong. I simply don’t believe the defensive that ads were not removed in a timely manner. Like how hard can it be to pull an ad or take down a sign in a store window. Or hey lets even put an expiration date on an ad so we can be sure there is no trickery. As far as health claims go that is flat out wrong. Not only is our money being jerked around but our health! I think because they are both false they do sit at the same degree however people’s health is not something to be toyed with and compensation for health claims I assume would be much more costly than of those false advertisement claims.

  6. I think that this false advertisement lawsuit with Target was a stupid mistake on their part. Whoever was in charge of that specific section of merchandise to be updated made the mistake, and should be held accountable. Obviously, mistakes in stores can happen. Target is a huge retail store that has a lot of merchandise inside, but this is no excuse for their previous actions. They could easily have more problems like this down the road and get into lots more legal trouble. Retail stores should make consumers their number one priority, since without their consumers they wouldn’t be successful.

  7. I believe false advertising and health claims are similar in that the truth of both represents the companies credibility. In some cases, false advertising will not affect health but with health claims, a customers safety is involved and that is the responsibility of the company. On another note, I find it absurd that Target is being sued for a difference in prices. If it was a regularly occurring issue that negatively affected customers, then i would understand a lawsuit. People today are too sensitive and try to create an argument out of the smallest of issues. Patrons can complain about anything and attempt to sue a company, compromising that company’s credibility.

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