How to Sue Someone for False Advertising

By Sarah Meem ; Updated June 05, 2017
Woman reading newspaper on table

False advertising is misleading or simply untrue information presented to consumers in an advertisement, usually TV, radio, the Internet, newspapers or magazines, or spoken to them by a salesperson to get them to purchase an item or visit a place of business. Some examples include the advertisement picture not matching the actual product image or not telling if the product is used or refurbished. Also, stating a price in the ad for a product but then insisting that multiple purchases need to be made in order to get that price is false advertising. False advertising is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, thus giving the consumer legal protection against it. If you are prepared to sue the company that deceived you, there are steps you should follow to prepare yourself for the lawsuit.

Retain your receipt of the item you purchased and the advertisement that you believe is false.

Consult with a lawyer regarding your chances of winning your suit. Ask the lawyer if their is an alternative avenue you could or should pursue.

Try to not use the product and prepare it to be taken to court. If you cannot bring it with you, then take as many pictures of it as possible.

File a suit in civil or small claims court and pay the fee associated with filing a suit.

Find and subpoena witnesses who can speak to the fact the advertisement was misleading consumers. Also, find and subpoena the person who sold you the product.

About the Author

Sarah Meem began writing in 2007. She specializes in coverage of Middle East topics, human trafficking and human rights issues. Meem has a Bachelor of Arts in international studies and Arabic from the University of North Carolina. She is pursuing a master's degree in social service administration from the University of Chicago.