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2 huge reasons why false advertising hurts consumers

You may think of false advertising as a relatively minor problem, like a white lie. Many companies clearly look at it this way, considering how many lawsuits are started after they make false claims.

The reality is that these are very serious cases that definitely harm consumers. That's especially true in regard to food. Companies are sometimes deceptive when it comes to what ingredients are really in their products, either in an effort to make people think that the food is healthier than it is or to hide things that consumers are known to avoid.

This is problematic on two fronts. For instance, a director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) noted that consumers should never be tricked into purchasing things, like high-fructose corn syrup, that they actively don't want to ingest. They have a right to know if it's in the food so that, if they've decided not to eat it, they can find an alternative. Hiding it causes them to consume it against their will.

Additionally, he noted that these deceptive practices mean that buyers do not get the products that they actually think they're paying for. He called this a "failure of the marketplace."

That's especially problematic when these foods cost more. For instance, perhaps you're willing to pay double the price for a cereal without artificial ingredients and dyes. If you fork over $8 dollars per box instead of $4 per box, but you're really getting the artificial ingredients the whole time, then you're wasting $4 with every box you buy.

Have you been victimized by consumer fraud and dishonest advertising or labeling? If so, make sure you know all of your legal options.

Source: Time, "9 of the Most Totally Misleading Product Claims," Thomas C. Frohlich and Vince Calio, accessed Jan. 19, 2018

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