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ERIC Number: ED097700
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1974-Aug
Pages: 27
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
The Questionable Rationale for Advertising Puffery as Revealed in Early English and American Legal Precedents.
Preston, Ivan L.
The ancient principle of caveat emptor (let the buyer beware) is largely dead, but remnants of the rule remain in the privilege to use puffery, a type of subjective opinion claim which is defended by the law on the ground that it does not deceive the public even though it is false. While behavioral evidence suggests that many such claims actually deceive, the law relies instead on precedents descending from the heyday of caveat emptor which hold that various false statements are not deceptive. An examination of early English and American court precedents reveals that the precedents have arbitrarily and without reasonable justification determined that consumers are not deceived by puffery because they presumably know they should distrust it, do in fact distrust it, and have full opportunity to check the truth of such claims. The law's reason for legalizing puffery, in other words, is that it does not work. A comparison of the contrasting attitudes toward puffery taken by major advertisers, who would hardly use such claims if they thought that they did not work, would be valuable. In conclusion, puffery is no more justified today than would be any of the now-rejected aspects of caveat emptor which once prevailed. (Author/TO)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A