Do you think Altice Mobile is guilty of false advertising? Or maybe you just want to know what it is, how to identify it, and how to report it. In any case, we explain that and more.
False advertising, sometimes known as deceptive marketing practices or misleading advertising, is any promotion of a product or any business interest where the information is misleading or false. This is particularly relevant if the false information or misleading information is what influences a consumer like you to buy the service or the product that’s advertised.
There are rules that dictate how businesses have to market or advertise themselves, some at the state and some at the federal level. These consumer protection laws are almost all governed by The Federal Trade Commission Act, which established the FTC in 1914. The FTC now has the jurisdiction to respond to complaints about false advertising from individuals or businesses. Some examples of the rules outlined in that section are:
Sourced from the FTC with creative input from FairShake.
The SEC has a lot of different categories for false advertising, things like hidden fees, false reviews, and bait and switch scenarios. Advertisers have to disclose potential side effects or health hazards and in the event that they don’t report this to their consumers, this is an example of a failure to disclose a situation as defined by the FTC.
Altice Mobile has over 300 complaints to do with false advertising on their BBB page. One customer explained that Altice Mobile had increased their:
“service fee from $120 to $220 without any formal notification. I called the service number several time on 6/*/2020 to 6/*/2020 ask a callback, but nobody responded. The service center agency said they noticed customers the prices change on the bill, but I never received the bill since January 2020, then March 2020 because of the cov19, my store closed, I couldn’t receive any mail. but I still pay for optimum even I actually didn’t use their service.I kept receiving calls from optimum said I owe them money, I thought maybe I forgot to pay?but the amount is $344, so I checked my payment history, I did pay every month to them. I called the service number they told me since February 2020, the price is $220/month. During the cov19, everyone lost the job, optimum not only give any discount but also charge much more without any formal notification. The service center only put the customers on hold(I was on hold on the phone almost 60 minutes) no body really help the customers!”
Another customer took issue with Altice Mobile and their misleading promotions. They explained:
“We called (Steven?) several days before a promotional was over and the phone we wanted was not available (only the HIGH end phones) and were told to wait the weekend and they would call us back with the availability. So we did agreed but we didn’t receive a call back after the weekend. So we called again (Mia) but this time Altice said their system was down and that they could not complete the credit portion for the device we SETTLED on. Again we were told that we would receive a call back but NOTHING. So for a third time we called and got all the way to the credit part of the transaction and was told that they could not access our credit report because it is “locked” and that we should call again tomorrow. But I explained the promotion would be over. The response was that our situation would be escalated and fixed for us when we call back. So we called all three credit bureaus and was told that the credit is NOT LOCKED and then called Altice YET AGAIN the next day only to have the rep try and upsell us to a phone that costs 3 times what our original selection and they were not going to give us the promotion and wanted us to pay an additional $10 per month making our bill double what we originally ordered! We then asked for the manager (Brandon) since all of this was the fault of Altice. And he told us a story about this is a European company and how other customers had card issues, credit issues and internet issues and Altice had to just “let them go” because they cannot extend the the promotional for anyone or any reason.”
Now that you have an idea as to what false advertising is, what can you do if you see it in action? The courts do not require you or anyone else to actually be affected by the false advertising in order to convict a company.
That means you can report it if you see it by submitting a consumer complaint to the FTC. The FTC wants to know about any case of false advertising so that they can investigate and take any necessary action. You can also submit a complaint to TruthinAdvertising.org where it will go public.
What is that action? Well, it depends on the severity of the case. The FTC, for examples, takes issues where health and safety are concerned more seriously than something which was just disappointing but not potentially harmful.
The FTC also takes into consideration whether it seems it was intentional or not, and whether Altice Mobile has faced issues of false advertising before. So, the punishment can range from things like letters asking them to stop, if it is a simple and likely unintentional mistake, fines based on the severity, or even jail time.
If Altice Mobile is found guilty they might get a letter demanding that they stop the ad and fix it, but if they are guilty on multiple occasions, then the punishment can be upwards of $100,000 or more in fines and potential jail time.
However, if you have been wronged by false advertising, the rules pertaining to how you can get recourse will depend on your state’s laws related to Unfair and Deceptive Acts and Practices. This means that any fine the FTC charges Altice Mobile won’t make it into your pocket.
If you were personally affected and lost money, other than lodging a complaint you can really only try customer service. Customer service might not help you, or might not be able to. And in any case, it is time consuming, fruitful or not.
Thankfully there are other options. One of those is consumer arbitration. Consumer arbitration is usually faster and less expensive than going to court but it can still be a bit confusing because it comes with a fair amount of paperwork. That’s where we can help. FairShake helps you navigate the consumer arbitration process, from filing your claim to getting the resolution you deserve.
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