(Part 1 of 3)
Have you ever bought a product that did not live up to your expectations? Most consumers have gotten caught up in flashy advertising tactics at one time or another, buying a good or service that may not have ended up being nearly as useful as it appeared. But when do advertising tactics and business practices become possible illegal activity? California has multiple statutes designed to protect consumers.
First is the California Business and Professions Code § 17200, termed California’s Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”):
Unfair competition shall mean and include any unlawful, unfair or fraudulent business act or practice and unfair, deceptive, untrue or misleading advertising and any act prohibited by Chapter 1 of Part 3 of Division 7 of the Business and Professions Code (which outlines false advertising in regards to various products).
Actions under the UCL for injunctions and restitution may be brought by a prosecuting authority or by private persons acting for themselves or the general public. The language is purposefully broad, allowing the definitions of ‘unlawful, ‘unfair’ and ‘fraudulent’ to evolve with business practices.
 Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200.
 Regarding legal claims, a per se violation refers to something that is illegal in and of itself, not requiring further proof.
 Cel-Tech Commc’ns, Inc. v. Los Angeles Cellular Tel. Co., 20 Cal. 4th 163, 187 (1999).
 Bank of the W. v. Superior Court, 2 Cal. 4th 1254, 1267 (1992).