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What makes a trade practice deceptive?

It is a common marketing practice among business owners in Michigan and Illinois to emphasize the positive aspects of the products and services on offer, while paying as little attention as possible to the negative aspects. You may wonder if this represents a deceptive trade practice. According to FindLaw, it does not qualify as a deceptive trade practice in the eyes of the law. In order to categorize a trade practice as deceptive, you have to make a claim that is demonstrably false or deliberately misleading. 

Nevertheless, the definition of deceptive trade practices is far-reaching and includes the following:

  • Misrepresenting used, damaged, reclaimed or altered products as brand-new
  • Selling counterfeit goods while claiming that they are the genuine article
  • Making false claims about needed repairs, replacements or services
  • Intentionally keeping an insufficient amount of products in stock to meet expected demand

One particular way that auto dealers can engage in deceptive trade practices, though certainly not the only way, is to reduce the number of miles showing on a car’s odometer by resetting it, disconnecting it or setting it back. 

Another way of deceiving potential customers is by falsely claiming that a particular product or service has the certification, approval or sponsorship of a well-known entity known to be trustworthy, often without the individual or entity’s knowledge. 

The Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act is in place in several states, including Illinois and Michigan, to enable class action lawsuits against a company believed to have engaged in deceptive trade practices, even if the plaintiffs occupy a collective area that extends beyond state lines. 

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.