Home » Learning Toolkit

What You Need to Know About Advertising Laws for Your Small Business

Erin Avatar

By Erin

Learning Toolkit

Published on

As the owner of a small business, you should do your best to ensure that you’re operating within the confines of the law. This will be beneficial to you for a number of reasons, including the fact that you won’t be fined for breaking rules and not adhering to set regulations. As far as advertising goes, here’s what you need to know.

Adhere to State Regulations

The state in which your business is registered has its own set of consumer protection laws. These aim to protect the general public from the consequences of deceptive advertising and unfair competition. While the state can take action against those who break the law, they don’t do so directly, but rather, through the office of the attorney general, the local district, and a consumer protection agency. In this respect, consumers, competitors, and government watchdogs can all sue companies that make false claims in their advertisements.

Under some laws, your company may even be sued for an internet crime, which involves using the internet to make fraudulent or false communications to consumers. This makes it important to follow your state laws. Don’t try to hide behind technicalities, but make sure that your advertisements are all straightforward and easy to understand. This will save you a lot of time in potential court proceedings that could result from dissatisfied parties consuming your advertisements.

Follow FTC Rules

The FTC, or Federal State Commission, is another governing body that governs business advertising. They state that adverts must be non-deceptive and truthful, and they cannot be unfair and cause substantial and unavoidable injury to customers. The FTC is a powerful body that often attempts to first complete claims in private. If the company fails to work within the rules, the FTC can sue that company for the consumers who were harmed.

They make the advertiser run new ads, correcting previous information and implications made earlier that were unfair, false, and deceptive. The FTC may also fine the advertiser in question alongside other governing bodies that help safeguard consumer rights. This is a lot of work to do, given that roughly 86% of small businesses advertise on Facebook, and there are many other platforms on which businesses advertise. Do your best to ensure that your adverts are beneficial to the public and comply with all the regulations put in place.

Be Aware of the Lanham Act

Finally, ensure that you’re within the restrictions of the Lanham Act, which allows competitors of a business to sue it privately for false advertising. It mainly concerns violations involving trademark laws, but it can also cover false advertising. In order to successfully sue under this act, a few things must first be proved.

These include products sold over state lines, deception played a major role in the advertisement, the plaintiff was likely to experience harm as a result of the deception, and that the advertiser made claims about the product that were factually false. Note that 53.3% of all the traffic of a website comes from organic searches and ensure that you make advertisements that will not infringe on any other business’s rights and that will be beneficial to the consumer.

Keep this information in mind so that you get the best results out of your advertising efforts. You will also be able to run your business a lot better if you don’t have your attention divided among lawsuits and other non-compliance issues. Offer beneficial information to the public and you will have an easier time growing your market despite the competition.