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False Advertising vs. Defective Products: Understanding the Differences

Posted on November 25, 2022 in

Whether you’ve been injured by a defective and dangerous product or by a product that was falsely advertised, there may be a way to hold the product manufacturers and/or companies that advertise, distribute or sell the products accountable for their negligent actions. However, the approach to “defective and dangerous” vs. “false advertising” cases differ, so it’s important to learn the differences to make sure you understand what you need to prove and the proper legal procedures.

At Jensen Phelan Law Firm, we offer a free assessment of your case with explanation of your rights, giving you the opportunity to make a well-informed decision about your next steps. Our specialist attorneys can help you even the playing field and hold your ground against these larger companies. Regardless of how complicated your case may seem, our attorneys have over 65 years of combined experience and proven success helping injured victims secure the favorable results they deserve.

Are There Legal Differences Between False Advertising and Defective and Dangerous Products?

There are important legal differences between a defective and dangerous product and false advertising.

A defective and dangerous product refers to a flawed (“defective”) product that makes it unreliable or otherwise unfit (“dangerous”) for its intended use. This can include a product that is poorly designed, poorly manufactured with substandard materials or processes, or has inadequate warning labels or instructions.

False advertising, on the other hand, refers to any misleading or deceptive claims made by a company about a product or service. This can include claims about the product’s performance, features, benefits, or ingredients that are not true or are exaggerated, leading to injury.

Both types of cases can harm consumers and lead to legal liability for companies. A few other differences in how these cases are handled include:

Nature of the Problem

The fundamental difference between a defective and dangerous product and false advertising is the nature of the problem. A defective and dangerous product is a physical or functional problem with the product itself, while false advertising is a problem with the way the product is marketed or advertised.

Harm to Consumers

Defective and dangerous products can cause physical harm, injury, or property damage, while false advertising can often lead to financial harm or loss resulting from the deception (or injury in some circumstances).

Legal Liability

For a defective and dangerous product, the manufacturer or seller of the product can be held strictly liable (this limits the defenses) for any harm caused to consumers. In contrast, false advertising can result in legal liability for the company that made the false claims or misrepresentations, but customary defenses are permitted. Consumer fraud law may operate to provide an easier avenue to prove false advertising in Arizona.


The remedies available for defective and dangerous products and false advertising are different. For products, consumers may be able to recover compensation for their injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. In the case of false advertising, remedies may include fines, corrective advertising, or refunds for affected consumers, or other remedies depending on the harms and losses that resulted from the false advertising.

Burden of Proof

For a defective and dangerous product case, the burden is on the plaintiff to prove that the product was both defective and dangerous, and it caused harm (the value of which must be proven). 

In false advertising cases, the burden is also on the plaintiff to prove that the advertising was false or misleading, that it caused damages, and then nature and extent of the damages.


The timeframe for identifying a problem with a defective and dangerous product is typically shorter than that for false advertising based upon when the consumer first knew or should have known of the product’s defective and dangerous character, which starts the time on the typically 2 year statute of limitations. Products can often be identified shortly after purchase or use as dangerous and defective.

False advertising also may not be discovered until much later, after consumers have already made a purchase or relied on the false claims. Consumer fraud statutory claims have a one year statute of limitations. 

Contact Jensen Phelan Law Firm Today to Secure Fair Compensation 

When we purchase a product, we trust that the manufacturers have done their due diligence to make the product safe or warn of inherent dangers, and have appropriately advertised the product. However, companies can sometimes be quick to breach the trust consumers have to enhance their own profits, causing severe and even life-altering harm to their consumers. It’s important to hold these manufacturers, distributors, sellers and advertisers accountable for their negligent actions. The attorneys at Jensen Phelan Law Firm can help you successfully navigate your product liability or false advertising case. 

Jensen Phelan Law Firm offers top-quality legal services that result in large awards for our clients. We care about you and making things right for you if the law and facts support your claim. Retain the best injury lawyers you can and increase your chances of obtaining fair compensation by contacting us today. Complete our online contact form or call (928) 778-2660 to schedule a consultation.