Misleading advertising

Misleading advertising occurs when a claim about a product or service is materially false or misleading, in an attempt to persuade the consumer to buy it. The Competition Act prohibits misleading advertising.

Common forms of misleading advertising related to the price of a product are:

  • Double ticketing—occurs when a seller puts two or more prices on a product or service, and the consumer is charged the higher price.
  • Pyramid selling is a multilevel marketing plan that uses certain specific deceptive means to obtain money (see also "Multi-Level Marketing and Pyramid Selling Schemes").
  • Bait and switch—occurs when a seller attracts customers by advertising a certain product or service at a bargain price and then persuades the customer to purchase a more expensive item, since the seller does not have reasonable quantities of the advertised item in stock.

To notify the Competition Bureau about misleading advertising, please use this online complaint form.

When the matter relates to labeling or advertising of food, contact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

You may also wish to contact:

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Published by the Consumer Measures Committee, a working group of federal, provincial and territorial governments, that helps educate and inform Canadian consumers.