Taking Action Against Companies Who Mislead Consumers
Posted by Luke on April 12, 2010
As a consumer, I often take product claims for granted assuming they are true and accurate. After all, consumers shouldn’t have to validate product claims, right? It’s unethical for companies to lie. And it’s largely impractical for consumers to research claims at the point of selecting products which typically occurs in store aisles.
Unfortunately, false advertising is everywhere. That’s particularly true as companies try to market any potential green attribute a product may have, even if it’s misleading. That’s increasingly been the case in the foodservice packaging industry.
I recently came across a prime example of a false advertisement by a Fortune 100 company. Georgia-Pacific, a multi-billion dollar manufacturer of some very well known consumer products, is claiming that their Dixie PerfecTouch hot cups are compostable. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.
PerfecTouch cups have a thick coating of polyethylene on the outside for insulation purposes. The cups do not meet ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) standards for compostability, nor are the cups approved by the Biodegradable Products Institute.
It’s sad that companies like this feel they have to misrepresent their products to appeal to consumers. Consumers should know what we’re getting and get what we pay for.
Here are a couple ways to get companies like this to stop falsely advertising their products:
- Submit a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission on the FTC website
- File a complaint with the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau. This route is meant more for businesses to file complaints against other businesses and can be very effective.
- Complain directly to the company misleading consumers
- Blog. If you know the facts, engage a discussion online
- Tell retailers. They are liable for misleading consumers as well if they don’t validate the claims of the products they carry