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Truth vs. Deception in Advertising

Truth vs. Deception in Advertising

Federal Trade Commission, SalesHQ

Mentioning Your Competitors

Is it legal for a company to compare its product to another company’s product in an ad?

Comparative advertising is legal as long as it is truthful. For more information, ask the FTC for the Comparative Advertising Policy Statement.

What can my company do if a competitor is running an ad that I think is deceptive?

You can:

Explore your legal options under federal and state statutes that protect businesses from unfair competition. For example, the Lanham Act gives companies the right to sue their competitors for making deceptive claims in ads.

File a complaint with the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, if your competitor’s ad is running nationally or regionally. The NAD is a private, self-regulatory group affiliated with the BBB. It investigates allegations of deceptive advertising and gives advertisers a mechanism for resolving disputes voluntarily.

Call your local BBB or file an online complaint with the Better Business Bureau if the ad is local. Many BBBs have procedures for resolving disputes between businesses.

Contact the radio station, television station, or publication where the ad ran. Let them know that they’re running an ad you think may be deceptive.

Contact your state Attorney General’s Office or your city, county, or state Office of Consumer Affairs. To get their phone numbers, check your telephone directory.

Contact the FTC. By mail: Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Response Center, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580; by telephone: toll-free 1-877-FTC-HELP.


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