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Investigating False Advertising for Porcelain Tile

woman sculpture holding scales

The average American sees anywhere from 4,000 to 10,000 advertisements every day. Whether it’s online or in our daily routine, it’s impossible to avoid colorful promotions for the “next big thing”. As saturated as our world has become with advertisements, consumers still retain certain rights when a business promises something it can’t deliver. Maginnis Howard attorneys are passionate about fighting for consumer rights, including unfair business practices and false advertising.

Unfair and Deceptive Practices

When buying a product, you deserve to be certain of its quality. Consumers put their trust in businesses advertising products and services each day. Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Act is the legal basis for many deceptive business claims (such as false advertising). It explains a false advertisement includes misleading language or outright lies about product features.

Recently, our firm was contacted about a potential false advertising case. This consumer purchased tile advertised—and priced—as porcelain tile. In reality, this tile was a less expensive ceramic alternative.

The Case of Porcelain vs Ceramic Tile

Porcelain tiles are made from a refined clay and fired at higher temperatures than ceramic tile. This makes the tile denser, more durable, and more water-resistant. Ceramic tile is a common alternative to porcelain that mimics its look and feel at a fraction of the cost. In order to distinguish between the two materials, investigators must apply a water absorption test. To qualify as porcelain, tiles must have a water absorption rate of .5% or less.

Investigators in our case found the client’s tile had a water absorption rate of 5%–far higher than that of porcelain tile.

Table showing more differences between the two tiles, courtesy of

False Advertising Law

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) oversees truth in advertising suits largely in a preventative (rather than punitive) role. Advertising is a subset of unfair and deceptive business practices protected under the FTC Act. Frequently, these suits refer to pharmaceutical or nutritional products that mislead consumers about results or ingredients.

On a state level, Chapter 75 of the North Carolina General Statutes protects consumers from fraud and unfair and deceptive business practices. Violating this statute can result in treble damages.

These laws exist to ensure businesses provide products and services in a fair and truthful manner. When a business violates those provisions, it can be difficult for one person to take the case on alone.

Representation for False Advertising Lawsuits

Maginnis Howard continually investigates a variety of consumer complaints to hold exploitative companies accountable. If you have purchased porcelain tile that you believe was falsely advertised, contact our office for a free consultation. For more information, contact our office at (919)-526-0450 or submit a message through our contact page. Our office may ask you for documents to appropriately assess your case.