Advertising Disclosures - Web Placement
When you advertise your product in a magazine, the
placement of a needed disclosure is often When advertising a product on the web, what are the requirements regarding a disclosure?
Both Georgia and federal law prohibit advertising and business practices that are fraudulent or deceptive.
Some practices are clearer than others. Conducting a “Going Out of Business Sale” when you have no intent to go out of business is a clear example. A coupon for $100 off may seem straight forward but as many have learn the hard way, a disclaimer (also known as the
“fine print”) is need to provide the proper qualifiers.
For example, “Expires December 31, 2007. Limit one coupon per household. New customers only” are some of the many used every day.
Internet advertising takes disclaimers and qualifiers to a new level. If you advertise a product price discount in bold large type, can you put the disclaimer in a hyperlink
taking the consumer to a separate page? Can you put the disclaimer at the bottom of a page requiring a great deal of scrolling? Must the disclaimer be immediately posted with the price?
According to federal guidelines, advertisers must consider the placement of the disclosure in an ad and its proximity to the claim. The prominence of the disclosure must also be considered. Other factors may make the advertisement deceptive or fraudulent. For example,
if items in other parts of the advertisement inappropriately distract attention from the disclosure;
if the ad is so lengthy that the disclosure needs to be repeated;
if a disclosure also needs to be repeated in an audio message;
if a disclosure, presented in an audio message, is in an adequate volume and cadence;
if visual disclosures appear for a sufficient duration in a video; and
Whether the language of the disclosure is
understandable to the intended audience.
As with many areas of the law, bright line tests and
clear answers are not always available. Guidelines are just that: Guidelines. But by following the guidelines, your chances of stepping over the legal line are reduced and you may avoid a consumer challenge on the scope of the $54 million dry cleaning pants case.