Advertising dos and don’ts


  • Don’t use photos or illustrations that are different from the product being sold.
  • Don’t use a disclaimer to restrict, contradict or somehow negate the message to which it relates. If the main body of the advertisement creates a materially false or misleading general impression in itself, then fine print may not do much to alter the general impression in a way that ensures that consumers will not be misled.


  • If more than one price appears on a product or service, charge the lowest price.
  • Don’t sell a product or service above your advertised price.
  • Don’t say “regular price” when you mean “manufacturer’s suggested list price,” as they are often not the same.
  • Don’t increase the price of a product or service to cover the cost of a free product or service.
  • Don’t offer a product or service at a price that is unattainable because consumers must also pay additional charges or fees to buy the product or service, unless the additional charges or fees are imposed by the government, such as sales tax.

Saving claims

  • Only use “regular price” in an advertisement if the product has previously been offered in good faith for sale at that price for a substantial period of time, or a substantial volume of the product has been sold at that price within a reasonable period of time.
  • Ensure you have reasonable quantities of a product advertised at a bargain price.


  • When conducting a contest, make sure that potential participants have access to all relevant information before they enter or submit their ballot. This includes the number and approximate value of prizes, the geographic areas where they will be distributed, and any important information relating to the chances of winning.
  • Distribute the prizes as quickly as possible after the contest is over.

Performance claims

  • Make performance claims only if they have been substantiated by an adequate and proper test.
  • Use of tests and testimonials
  • Use the results of product performance tests or testimonials in your marketing only if they were previously made or published, or if you are authorized in writing to use them. If you are authorized, be careful not to distort test results or the scope of testimonials.

Warranties and guarantees

  • If you make a representation related to be a warranty or a guarantee, ensure your warranty or guarantee is not misleading and that it will be carried out. If you are making a promise to replace, maintain or repair an article, or continue a service until it has achieved a specified result, ensure your promise is not misleading and that there is a reasonable prospect that your promise will be carried out.

Telemarketing activities

When engaging in telemarketing activities, ensure you disclose all of the following:

  • the name of your company
  • the purpose of the call
  • the type of product or service you are promoting and its price
  • any restrictions, terms or conditions that must be met before the product will be delivered

Your sales team

Since businesses can be held responsible for information presented by their employees, it is important to ensure that your sales team is familiar with these dos and don’ts.

Remember, no one actually needs to be deceived or misled for a court to find that a marketing practice is misleading.

Further reading