Consumers right to sue for misleading claims
ALG REPORT | JAN 28, 2011
Consumers can now sue the companies or manufacturers for misleading claims made by them. This decision resolves a long overdue decision about the rights of consumers vs businesses over the scope of Proposition 64, a 2004 measure targeted to reduce lawsuits against businesses. Consumers who buy a product as a result of believing the misleading claims in advertising can sue the manufacturer even if the product was not defective, the California Supreme Court decided in a 5-2 ruling on Jan 24, 2011. It was a victory for consumers and supporters of Consumer rights said that the favorable decision will force the manufacturers to be honest about their claims and consumers will not be tricked.
The case involved a lawsuit against Orange County-based Kwikset Corp. for placing "Made in U.S.A" labels clearly visible on locksets. A trial judge determined the company was selling numerous products under such labels even though they contained foreign-made parts or were assembled in foreign countries. The company has stopped labeling the locksets the way it was done up until this decision.
Hopefully, this decision will pave the way for advertising that tricks consumers but cannot be labeled as unlawful. For example, some TV ads run the selling section of the ad with vivid imagination, colors, creativity but when it’s time to tell the consumers about disclaimers, disclosures or associated risks, the color and size of font is very small and almost illegible or if it is speech, then the speed is fast and without any intonation so consumers generally are unable to grasp the content or message as a whole. The company is following a law, but is clearly tricking the consumer.