Marketing is one of the important parts of any consumer-oriented business. It refers to an organization’s promotion of its products and services, including market research and advertising.
Marketing has also been done incorrectly throughout history worldwide since it’s been a common business practice for many years. Many business entities have used methods to deceive and mislead consumers to gain profit by promoting their products and services, so governments enacted laws to counter them.
Deceptive and misleading marketing practices have been around even before the term marketing was coined. Unfortunately, even with the times progressing, it has continued to victimize consumers and is likely to persist into the future.
The best way for consumers to protect themselves against deceptive marketing is to arm themselves with information about it. Read on to know what deceptive and misleading marketing is and how you can avoid it.
What is misleading marketing?
Misleading marketing happens when a representation used for product promotion or any business interest is false or materially misleading. If a representation could influence a consumer’s decision to buy an advertised product or service, it is material.
Different countries have their ways of enforcing laws against misleading marketing, but in general, any promotional activity or material cannot be misleading in any way. It also doesn’t matter if it was conducted intentionally or unintentionally.
Another scenario categorized as deceptive marketing is the omission of vital information about a product or service. Such practices have serious consequences to the economy, especially ones directed to a large audience or takes place over long periods.
It affects both consumers and businesses who are honestly promoting their products and services. As a result, commerce becomes toxic, and both parties lose money from it.
How to avoid deceptive and misleading marketing
For consumers, the most reliable way to avoid being deceived by a promotional material or activity is to learn how to recognize them. After all, it’s your responsibility to know the products and services you’re paying for to identify if they are what a business claims them to be.
Here are common types of misleading marketing most consumers can or have encountered:
Mislabeling covers a broad range of deceptive practices that can include the following:
- Making deceptive claims about the origin of a product
- Claiming to offer a product or service at a false price
- Printing false or misleading information on a product’s packaging or in any form of advertisement
- False environmental claims such as saying a product is biodegradable or recyclable
- Omission of vital information about the product
Although it’s a common illegal marketing practice, it’s difficult to recognize mislabeled goods unless you have information about it. The best thing to do is look for a generic product or one from another brand to compare and determine if the label indicates facts. You may read more about mislabeling issues on the Keurig Lawsuit allegedly mislabeling on coffee pod products.
Business misrepresentation is committed by lying about a business’s authority or market importance in any promotional material. A typical example would be lying about being affiliated with a trusted organization by the public to build false authority in the consumer’s eyes.
You can research the advertised affiliation to see if it’s indeed factual. Also, see if the organization a business claims to be affiliated with is legitimate or fabricated.
To misrepresent one’s product is to have it look different or have different qualities than what’s stated on its promotional materials. They can misrepresent the colors, size, and appearance of the products.
To avoid purchasing misrepresented products, you can read its reviews to see if people who’ve bought them got the same as what’s on the ads.
The bait-and-switch tactic entails luring consumers to incredible deals that aren’t real. When you think a product’s price is too good to be true, it is most likely, and you should avoid it.
Failure to disclose
Every seller is legally obligated to disclose any potential health hazards a product contains. Failure to do this is illegal.
When you’re shopping for goods like medication, alcohol, electrical tools, carpentry tools like drills, etc., it should have a safety/risk warning or a disclosure on the labeling. If it doesn’t, avoid buying them.
It’s important to note that these are only some of the rampant deceptive and misleading marketing tactics businesses use to make consumers buy their products or services. Businesses will come up with new ways to do so whenever they can.
Continue to stay informed about harmful practices to consumers like yourself. Here at Consider The Consumer, you can find recent news relevant to this topic and the protection of consumer rights. We are a reliable source for consumers who are looking to educate themselves regarding their rights and news about various businesses in different industries.
If you have any queries or if you think we have published misleading information, kindly update us via the communication channels below. We’d love to hear back from you!