A business owner is not allowed to engage in behavior that is unfair or deceptive. However, determining whether you are actually engaging in this type of behavior can be difficult without consulting with a business attorney first.
What Constitutes Unethical Business Practices?
The product that is sold by the business must function in the way that it is advertised to function. If it appears that you are misrepresenting how your product works, your company may be accused of misrepresentation. For example, a product can only be described as being "new" if it was only released a few months ago.
What Are the Consequences?
The FTC issues fines to businesses that are found to have engaged in deceptive business practices. Customers may also be able to seek compensation for the damages they have suffered in civil court.
How Should I Respond?
If you are being accused of deceptive business practices, you must seek legal counsel from a business attorney as quickly as possible. Inform the business attorney about who your adversary is, the type of complaints that have been filed, and whether any legal actions have been taken by your adversary.
How Does a Customer Take Legal Action?
For your adversary to be able to successfully take legal action against you, they will need to prove that the deceptive practices were substantial and it must not be a practice that would clearly benefit the consumer or be a practice that the consumer would be able to avoid.
How Will a Business Attorney Defend Me?
While defending you, your business lawyer will try to gather evidence that can be used to argue that a reasonable consumer would not reasonably be misled by the actions taken by your business. For example, if your adversary argues that they expected a product that they purchased to be installed for free and there was nothing in the advertising indicating that this would be the case, you may be able to make an effective argument against the claim of deceptive business practices.
Should I Be Worried?
It's essential to take claims of unfair business practices seriously. Not only will a claim of unfair business practices potentially lead to fines and other financial consequences, but it may damage the reputation of your business. However, because many claims of unethical business practices are without merit, a talented business attorney may be able to effectively defend you against these allegations.
Contact a business attorney for more information.