Businesses must act ethically

The city of New York, New York, is viewed by many as a key business capitol. There are commercial transactions that take place every day there. Some involve small amounts, and others involve millions of dollars. When those transactions go awry, those involved may pursue commercial litigation. One of the reasons they may do so is when they feel that the other party engaged in deceptive practices.

Most retailers and manufacturers make very strong claims about why their product is the best, because they need to maximize the value of their limited advertising dollars and garner the most significant share of their market possible. Their claims can be hyperbolic, such as a statement by a restaurant that they sell the best seafood ever, but they can't be flat-out false.

Companies are not allowed to mislead the public into buying a product or a service under false pretenses. That applies to things besides advertising, and includes practices like tampering with odometers on cars. Violations can result in action being taken by the state attorney general. Some states also allow for private and class action lawsuits to be filed by those who were taken advantage of. Depending on the laws of each state, aggrieved parties can sue for multiple times the actual damages, plus attorney fees, plus court costs. All of that can add up to a bundle, which makes engaging in deceptive practices very expensive for those who are foolish enough to indulge in them.

For that reason, as well as the innate value of conducting business in an ethical manner, businesses are well-advised to carefully review all claims about their products and services before making them to potential customers. You can promote what you sell, and portray it in the best possible light, but you have to be honest about with customers about what they will be getting.

Source: FindLaw, "Details on State Deceptive Trade Practices," accessed March 02, 2018

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