Deceptive advertising is widely agreed to be an unethical business practice. From a moral point of view, it is objectionable insofar as it misleads consumers and induces them to make purchasing decisions they otherwise would not make. Thus, it can be criticized both because of its intrinsic interference with informed consumer choice and because of its effects on those choices. It is also ethically problematic insofar as it unfairly harms competitors and weakens trust in the marketplace.

Deceptive advertising is also a technical, legal term used by regulators, the courts, and social scientists. In this sense, a deceptive advertisement is one that involves a representation, omission, or practice likely to mislead a reasonable consumer. To be regulable under the law, however, a further condition must be ...

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