How to Report Cricket Wireless for False Advertising

Think you’re a victim of Cricket false advertising? You may have legal options.

What is False Advertising?

False advertising, sometimes called misleading advertising, is any example of companies promoting their product or service in a misleading or false way.

Rules for deceptive marketing and false advertising exist in a collection of state and federal consumer protection laws. Most laws, however, are governed by The Federal Trade Commission Act, which established the FTC in 1914, and has a section that has become known as “truth in advertising” rules. These rules give the FTC jurisdiction to respond to complaints about false advertising from individuals or businesses. This can include situations outlined here, where companies:

  • use the words “sale” or “special” in relation to the price of a product unless a significant price reduction has occurred
  • use illustrations that are different from the product being sold
  • make a performance claim before they can prove it, even if the company thinks it is accurate. Testimonials usually do not amount to adequate proof

Note: No one actually needs to be misled for a court to find that an advertisement is misleading.

What Are the Different Types of False Advertising?

Sourced from the FTC with creative input from FairShake.

There are many different types of false advertising defined by the FTC which include common tactics like the bait and switch which is where a company might lower you in by offering an incredible deal with a very low price point, but they never actually intend to sell you the product or service at that price and you get stuck paying much more than you expected.

Cricket Wireless False Advertising Scandals 

Cricket Wireless was sued in Barraza v. Cricket Wireless, LLC et al. for false advertising of “no contract” wireless services and “no annual contract” services, when in fact customers were forced into contracts. 

Cricket Wireless settled parts of a false advertising lawsuit in 2015 that had to do with falsely claiming higher bandwidth than was actually provided and falsely claiming a larger coverage area than was provided. 

Unfortunately, Cricket Wireless did not learn their lesson. Yet again Cricket Wireless finds itself facing a potential class action lawsuit over allegations that it misled consumers by falsely claiming they had 4G coverage in areas where they simply didn’t. In some cases, it wasn’t even that 4G was limited, it was that it did not exist in certain cities at all. This applies to Florida, New York, Texas, and Ohio. In this instance, things echo the complaints from the Barraza case, with consumers only getting services if they purchased phones directly from Cricket Wireless, something that was not disclosed.

What to Do If You See False Advertising in Action

So what can you do about Cricket Wireless false advertising when you see it in action? Firstly, remember the courts do not require that anyone actually be affected by the false advertising in order to convict Cricket Wireless of doing it.  

That means you can report it even if it didn’t affect you personally. The first step to reporting this and forcing companies to stop these deceptive marketing tactics, your first step is to submit a consumer complaint to the FTC. Only by filing a consumer complaint with the FTC can they investigate and take action. You can also submit a complaint to TruthinAdvertising.org where it will go public.

However, if you have been wronged by false advertising, the rules that govern how you can get recourse will depend on your state’s laws related to Unfair and Deceptive Acts and Practices.

What can happen to Cricket Wireless?

What happens when the FTC gets enough reports of false advertising varies based on the situation. The FTC might issue a fine to the company, a punishment for their behavior and hopes that they will stop doing it. They might ask them to stop or change the misleading information assuming that they didn’t know it was misleading. They could file a lawsuit against them. But none of this means anything for you if you were personally affected.

Affected by False Advertising? Here’s What You Can Do

That said, if you personally were affected by Cricket Wireless false advertising and you lost money because of it, getting compensation after you have reported the company to the FTC won’t really happen quickly if at all. But one thing you can do if customer service isn’t helping either is to use consumer arbitration.

Consumer arbitration is usually faster and less expensive than going to court but it can still be a bit confusing because it is a legal process 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.

Tell us about your complaint and we’ll help you get a fair resolution.

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