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BUSINESS & PROFESSIONS CODE

Division 7 General Business Regulations

§ 17500. False or misleading statements generally

It is unlawful for any person, firm, corporation or association, or any employee thereof with intent directly or indirectly to dispose of real or personal property or to perform services, professional or otherwise, or anything of any nature whatsoever or to induce the public to enter into any obligation relating thereto, to make or disseminate or cause to be made or disseminated before the public in this state, or to make or disseminate or cause to be made or disseminated from this state before the public in any state, in any newspaper or other publication, or any advertising device, or by public outcry or proclamation, or in any other manner or means whatever, including over the Internet, any statement, concerning that real or personal property or those services, professional or otherwise, or concerning any circumstance or matter of fact connected with the proposed performance or disposition thereof, which is untrue or misleading, and which is known, or which by the exercise of reasonable care should be known, to be untrue or misleading, or for any person, firm, or corporation to so make or disseminate or cause to be so made or disseminated any such statement as part of a plan or scheme with the intent not to sell that personal property or those services, professional or otherwise, so advertised at the price stated therein, or as so advertised. Any violation of the provisions of this section is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, or by a fine not exceeding two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500), or by both that imprisonment and fine.


Added Stats 1941 ch 63 § 1. Amended Stats 1955 ch 1358 § 1; Stats 1976 ch 1125 § 4; Stats 1979 ch 492 § 1; Stats 1998 ch 599 § 2.5 (SB 597).

ANNOTATIONS

Amendments:

1955 Amendment:
Added ", or for any such person, firm, or corporation to make or disseminate or cause to be so made or disseminated any such statement as part of a plan or scheme with the intent not to sell such personal property or services, professional or otherwise, so advertised at the price stated therein, or as so advertised" at the end of the section.

1976 Amendment:
Added the second sentence.

1979 Amendment:
Added "or to make or disseminate or cause to be made or disseminated from this state before the public in any state," before "in any newspaper" in the first sentence.

1998 Amendment:
In addition to making technical changes, added (1) "including over the Internet," in the first sentence; and (2) "that imprisonment and fine" at the end.

Historical Derivations:
Former Pen C § 654a, as added Stats 1905 ch 254 § 1, amended Stats 1915 ch 634 § 1, Stats 1933 ch 952 § 1.
Cross References:
Violation by physician as unprofessional conduct: B & P C § 2271
Causes for revocation or suspension of physical therapy license: B & P C § 2660
Causes for discipline under nursing regulations: B & P C § 2761
Suspension or revocation of vocational nursing licenses for violation of section: B & P C § 2878
Sanctions involving psychologist's violation of this section: B & P C § 2960
Inapplicability of this section to publisher acting in good faith: B & P C § 17502
Making untrue statement in regard to realty: B & P C § 17530
Causes for suspension or revocation of license under furniture and bedding regulations: B & P C § 19210
Advertisements of distilled spirits appealing to minors: B & P C § 25664
Advertising drugs, foods and cosmetics: H & S C §§ 110390 et seq
Collateral References:
Witkin & Epstein, Criminal Law (2d ed) § 750
Witkin Evidence (3d ed) § 1498
Witkin Summary (9th ed) Equity §§ 99, 100
Cal Jur 3d (Rev) Consumer and Borrower Protection Laws §§ 68, 79, 81, Criminal Law § 1047
Insurance coverage for claims brought under California's unfair business practices statute. CEB Civ Lit Rep Vol. 12 No. 8 p 341
California's unfair business practices statutes: Settling the "nonclass class" action and fighting the "two-front war." 12 CEB Civ Lit Rep No. 3 p 95
Miller & Starr, Cal Real Estate 3d § 4:22
Rutter Cal Prac Guide, Enforcing Judgments and Debts §§ 3:176 et seq
Law Review Articles:
Intellectual property: Kendall-Jackson Winery v E. & J. Gallo Winery (1998, CA9 Cal) 150 F.3d 1042. 29 Golden Gate LR 122
Seduction in Wonderland: The need for a seller's fiduciary duty toward children. 4 Hast Const LQ 249
Controlling false and misleading advertising. 29 LA Bar B 365
Practice Tips: Res Judicata and California's Unfair Competition Law. 26 Los Angeles Lawyer 20 (April, 2003)
Law enforcement's role in consumer protection. 14 Santa Clara LR 555
California's unfair competition act: will it give rise to yet another wave in smoking and health litigation? 35 Santa Clara LR 193
California cancer quack laws. 40 SCLR 386
California consumer class action for fraud; alternative theories and statutes. 4 Southwestern U LR 321
California quackery. 11 Stan LR 280
Role of California's Attorney General and district attorneys in protecting the consumer; substantive areas of action. 4 UCD LR 45
Advertising and personal injury suits-should puffing be a defense? 15 UCD LR 617
Bar restrictions on dissemination of information about legal services. 22 UCLA LR 483
Advertising and the California medical professional. 2 Whittier LR 61
Nineteenth Annual Health Law Symposium: The Effective Use of California's Unfair Competition Law to Redress Managed Care Abuses. 22 Whittier LR 467
Attorney General's Opinions:
Requirements as to advertising of new automobile sold by authorized dealer to used car dealer. 12 Ops. Cal. Atty. Gen. 159
Regulation of display of prices. 17 Ops. Cal. Atty. Gen. 199
Making of "service charge" in addition to advertised price for dry cleaning as violation of this section. 28 Ops. Cal. Atty. Gen. 277
Advertising not revealing charge for insurance as violation of this section. 29 Ops. Cal. Atty. Gen. 175
Disciplinary proceeding based on use of firm name so as to constitute false or misleading advertising. 32 Ops. Cal. Atty. Gen. 167
When a professional soliciting firm raises funds for a peace officers' union by selling tickets to a variety show under an arrangement in which the firm retains 80% of the funds raised and the union receives the remaining 20%, there is not a violation of Business and Professions Code section 17510 et seq. (charitable solicitation disclosures), but there is a violation of Business and Professions Code section 17500 (false advertising) when the solicitor exhibits to the prospective buyers a "Solicitation or Sale for Charitable Purposes Card" which gives the name and address of the union as recipient and which states that 20% the proceeds "goes directly to charity" if in fact the union uses a portion of that 20% for union promotion, advertising and lobbying and the solicitor is, or should be, aware of the union's intent to so use the proceeds. 66 Ops. Cal. Atty. Gen. 40
A licensed residential mortgage lender may not charge the borrower interest from the date its funds are paid into escrow rather than from the date the funds are disbursed from escrow for the borrower's use. 82 Ops. Cal. Atty. Gen. 233
Annotations
Trade dress simulation of cosmetic products as unfair competition. 86 ALR3d 505
Unfair competition by imitation in sign or design of business place. 86 ALR3d 884
Practices forbidden by state deceptive trade practice and consumer protection acts. 89 ALR3d 449
Who is a "consumer" entitled to protection of state deceptive trade practice and consumer protection acts. 63 ALR5th 1
Commercial tax preparer's advertising as unfair or deceptive act or practice under § 5 of Federal Trade Commission Act (15 USCS § 45(a)). 37 ALR Fed 81

NOTES OF DECISIONS

1. In General

2. Constitutionality

3. Advertisements and Representations

4. -Proper

5. -Misleading

6. -False

7. Actions

8. Damages and Penalties

9. Jurisdiction

1. In General
Laws such as this are passed to protect the general public who read advertisements and are likely to know nothing of the facts, not the dealers who publish them or other experts on their subject matter. People v Wahl (1940, App Dep't Super Ct) 39 Cal App 2d Supp 771, 100 P2d 550
Under California law, test of unfair competition is whether there is likely to be deception of public, that is, whether there has been palming off defendant's goods as those of plaintiff. Filon Plastics Corp. v H. Koch & Sons (1965, ND Cal) 243 F Supp 636
In an action against various corporate and individual defendants for damages for fraud, both at common law and per se statutory fraud, arising out of the operation of "pyramid" marketing plans involving lingerie, the trial court erred in its legal conclusion that defendants' marketing plan was not a deceptive business practice within the meaning of Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17500 (prohibiting untrue or misleading statements used to induce the public to enter into certain obligations), and an illegal endless chain scheme contrary to Pen. Code, § 327. Defendants' plan involved "inventory loading" and "headhunting," whereby persons such as plaintiffs, who sought to become "counselors" or distributors of the products, were required to pay a large sum of money for the purchase of a substantial amount of nonreturnable inventory, and the promised rewards could only descend upon the participants in the pyramid if its base-new recruits-continued to grow in ever expanding numbers. Moreover, the fact of some retail sales does not legalize a pyramid marketing scheme which violates Pen. Code, § 327; the plan becomes illegal because it is part of the overall marketing plan which depends upon an endless chain of middlemen. Bounds v Figurettes, Inc. (1982, 4th Dist) 135 Cal App 3d 1, 185 Cal Rptr 480
Plaintiff class members did not have a cause of action against the California State Lottery Commission (CSLC) for money lost by Keno players during the period CSLC operated the Keno lottery game before it was declared illegal where the basis of plaintiffs' claim was that operation and promotion of Keno constituted unfair business practices in violation of B & P C §§ 17200 and 17500 (Unfair Practices Act). The Unfair Practices Act applies to specific "persons," which term means and include all natural persons, corporations, firms, partnerships, joint stock companies, associations and other organizations of persons (B & P C § 17201). However, government entities, such as CSLC, are not included in this definition. Thus, plaintiffs' unfair business practices and misleading advertising claim failed as a matter of law. Janis v California State Lottery Com. (1998, 2nd Dist) 68 Cal App 4th 824, 80 Cal Rptr 2d 549, 831
Where plaintiff car dealership contended that defendant auto financing company's business practice of calculating interest under the 365/360 method was an unlawful business practice under various theories, the trial court did not err in granting defendant's motion for judgment under CCP § 631.8 on plaintiff's private attorney general claim on behalf of all California dealerships receiving similar financing. Based on substantial evidence, the trial court reasonably found nothing to support a conclusion that defendant-financed California dealerships were similarly situated with respect to the likelihood of deception by defendant's business practices involving use of the 365/360 method to calculate interest. Similarly, the court reasonably found nothing to support a conclusion that defendant's statewide business practices were otherwise unlawful, unfair, fraudulent, or in violation of B & P C § 17500. Hence, the court properly determined that it could not make any determination that defendant was liable statewide. South Bay Chevrolet v General Motors Acceptance Corp. (1999, 4th Dist) 72 Cal App 4th 861, 894, 85 Cal Rptr 2d 301
B & P C §§ 17200 et seq. (prohibiting unfair business practices) and 17500 et seq. (prohibiting false advertising) do not apply to election campaign practices. National Comm. of the Reform Party v Democratic Nat'l Comm. (1999, CA9 Cal) 168 F.3d 360
Consumers were not entitled to a preliminary injunction against a manufacturer because the consumers failed to show that a recall and rebate scheme for defective dishwashers that the manufacturer negotiated with the federal Consumer Protection Safety Commission was unlawful, or that the public faced a strong possibility of irreparable injury. Churchill Village, L.L.C. v GE (2000, ND Cal) 169 F Supp 2d 1119
The California Unfair Business Practices Act permits any person acting for the interests of itself, its members or the general public to initiate an action for restitutionary and/or injunctive relief against a person or business entity who has engaged in any unlawful, unfair or fraudulent business act or practice or unfair, deceptive, untrue or misleading advertising or any other prohibited act, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17500. Rosales v Citibank (2001, ND Cal) 133 F Supp 2d 1177
Where a corporation's messages made representations of fact about its own business operations for the purpose of promoting sales of its products, these messages were commercial speech for purposes of applying state laws barring false and misleading commercial messages. Kasky v Nike, Inc. (2002) 27 Cal 4th 939, 119 Cal Rptr 2d 296, 45 P3d 243
Where a corporation's messages made representations of fact about its own business operations for the purpose of promoting sales of its products, these messages were commercial speech for purposes of applying state laws barring false and misleading commercial messages. Kasky v Nike, Inc. (2002) 27 Cal 4th 939, 119 Cal Rptr 2d 296, 45 P3d 243, cert gr (US) 154 L Ed 2d 767, 123 S Ct 817
To prevail on a false advertising claim under B & P C § 17500 et seq., a plaintiff must prove that a defendant made a statement in connection with the sale of personal property which was untrue or misleading and which was known, or which by the exercise of reasonable care should be known, to be untrue or misleading. Pepsico, Inc. v Cal. Sec. Cans (2002, CD Cal) 238 F Supp 2d 1172
Trial court properly granted judgment against claims brought under Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 17500 and 17200 for false advertising and unfair competition against a seller of homeopathic medicines where the party bringing the action claimed that the seller was making false claims in connection with the marketing of the products but offered no evidence in support of its allegations; the legislature had provided that the burden of proof in such actions should lie with the party claiming that the advertising claims were false, and the appellate court would not change the law to require the seller to prove that the claims were true. National Council Against Health Fraud, Inc. v King Bio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (2003, 2nd Dist) 107 Cal App 4th 1336, 133 Cal Rptr 2d 207
Since false advertising under B & P C § 17500 and California common law did not pertain to intellectual property rights, the immunity provided under the Communications Decency Act did not apply to plaintiff's false advertising claim under 47 U.S.C.S. § 230(e)(2). Perfect 10, Inc. v CCbill, LLC (2004, CD Cal) 2004 US Dist LEXIS 17643, 71 USPQ2d 1568
Trial court properly dismissed citizens' action against organizations under CCP § 425.16 and the citizens did not and could not meet their statutory burden under the statute of showing a reasonable probability of prevailing on the merits because (1) the challenged statements of the organization were expressions of opinion about an issue of genuine scientific debate, and those statements were noncommercial speech fully protected by the United States Constitution and not actionable under B & P C § 17200 of the Unfair Competition Law, B & P C §§ 17200 et seq., or B & P C § 17500 of the False Advertising Law, B & P C §§ 17500 et seq., and (2) the citizens' challenge to the organizations' statements regarding the safety of abortion failed as a matter of law because the citizens' own evidence showed that were noncommercial expressions of opinion about an issue of genuine scientific debate. Bernardo v Planned Parenthood Federation of America (2004, Cal App 4th Dist) 2004 Cal App LEXIS 111

2. Constitutionality
B & P C § 17500, in making it unlawful to knowingly "make or disseminate or cause to be made or disseminated before the public in this state" any "misleading" statement in advertising property or services, is not rendered unconstitutionally vague by the use of the quoted words. To mislead means to guide wrongly, and misleading therefore means deceptive, tending to mislead; and the word disseminate means to scatter, spread widely, broadcast or disperse. People v Witzerman (1972, 2nd Dist) 29 Cal App 3d 169, 105 Cal Rptr 284
A state regulation providing for the imposition of civil monetary penalties for the negligent dissemination of untruthful or misleading advertising does not offend the free speech provisions of U.S. Const., First Amend., and Cal. Const., art. I, § 2. Thus, in an action by a district attorney against a real estate company for injunctive relief and to recover civil penalties for alleged dissemination of false and deceptive newspaper advertisements in violation of Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17500, prohibiting false or misleading advertising, and Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17200, prohibiting unfair competition, the trial court erred in ruling that § 17500 was unconstitutional on its face as violating the free speech provision of both the federal and state Constitutions, by permitting recovery of civil penalties for negligently making false and misleading statements in an advertisement, and that § 17200 was unconstitutional as applied to defendants, as defining unlawful and unfair business practices to include a violation of § 17500 thereby permitting recovery of civil penalties for negligent dissemination of false advertising. People v Superior Court (Olson) (1979, 4th Dist) 96 Cal App 3d 181, 157 Cal Rptr 628
Claims against a securities brokerage were improperly dismissed, in a class action against a federally chartered savings and loan association, its former and current parent companies, and its brokerage subsidiary, for unfair and deceptive business practices in violation of Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 17200 (unfair competition) and 17500 (false advertising), fraud, and negligent misrepresentation in connection with the brokerage's inducing the association's customers to purchase investment products that, unlike the products of the federally insured association, were subject to substantial risk of loss. The brokerage was a service corporation wholly owned by the association. The Federal Home Loan Bank Board had disclaimed any intention to preempt any state regulation of service corporations. Neither Congress nor the Bank Board intended that federal law preempt state law claims against service corporations absent an actual conflict. The state law causes of action were not preempted by the Home Owners' Loan Act of 1933, as amended (12 U.S.C. § 1461 et seq.) or its implementing regulations. Fenning v Glenfed, Inc. (1995, 2nd Dist) 40 Cal App 4th 1285, 47 Cal Rptr 2d 715

3. Advertisements and Representations
A violation of this statute may be committed without any specific intent to deceive. People v Wahl (1940, App Dep't Super Ct) 39 Cal App 2d Supp 771, 100 P2d 550
; People ex rel. Mosk v Lynam (1967, 2nd Dist) 253 Cal App 2d 959, 61 Cal Rptr 800
One who, in advertising matter, uses words having double meaning cannot escape charge of misleading or deceiving by saying that words were true as he meant them (violation of B & P C § 651, prohibiting ads offering discounted chiropractic services). Garvai v Board of Chiropractic Examiners (1963, 2nd Dist) 216 Cal App 2d 374, 31 Cal Rptr 187
The evidence did not support a jury verdict finding defendant, the owner of a business, guilty of violating Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17500, which prohibits knowingly making untrue or misleading statements with intent to dispose of property or perform services. Though there was ample evidence of a violation by defendant's employee, the statute does not impose strict criminal liability, and there was no evidence that defendant had knowledge of, or participated in, the employee's illegal conduct. People v Regan (1979, App Dep't Super Ct) 95 Cal App 3d Supp 1, 157 Cal Rptr 62
The duty of reasonable care established by Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17500, which prohibits any advertising "which is untrue or misleading, and which is known, or which by exercise of reasonable care should be known, to be untrue or misleading," is not satisfied by blind reliance on representations made by others. In a corporate setting, Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17500, imposes a duty of communication among departments. Thus, a civil action by the People against a real estate brokerage corporation for violation of Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17200, 17500, on the basis of false and misleading newspaper advertisements, the trial court erred in directing a verdict in favor of the corporation on the basis of the reasonableness of the actions of individual corporate employees, where, although no employee connected with the ad campaign had actual knowledge of the misrepresentations, three employees cumulatively had information proving the ads were misleading; this knowledge was to be imputed to the corporation itself. Moreover, Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17500, prohibits negligent as well as intentional dissemination of misleading advertising. People v Forest E. Olson, Inc. (1982, 4th Dist) 137 Cal App 3d 137, 186 Cal Rptr 804
In an action by the People against an interstate air carrier for civil penalties and injunction, alleging the carrier violated Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17500, and Civ. Code, § 1770, subd. (m), and engaged in unfair competition under Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17200 et seq., by making false and misleading statements implying fare savings in advertising promotions, the air carrier's demurrer to the People's complaint could not be sustained on the ground that state regulation of advertising by interstate air carriers unconstitutionally burdens interstate commerce in violation of the commerce clause, U.S. Const., art. I, § 8. Nothing in the record suggested the state's false advertising statutes as a matter of law discriminated against air carriers engaged in interstate commerce, or impinged on an area of interstate commerce requiring uniform regulation. Any contention the statutes as applied to regulate the air carrier's advertising unconstitutionally burdened interstate commerce involved factual issues beyond the scope of a demurrer. People v Western Airlines, Inc. (1984, 4th Dist) 155 Cal App 3d 597, 202 Cal Rptr 237
Under Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17500, which prohibits public use of untrue or misleading statements, a statement is false or misleading if members of the public are likely to be deceived. The statute affords protection against the probability or likelihood as well as the actuality of deception or confusion. People v Toomey (1984, 1st Dist) 157 Cal App 3d 1, 203 Cal Rptr 642
Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17500 (prohibition against use of untrue or misleading statement in selling real or personal property or personal services), extends to the use of false or misleading oral statements. In order to recover under § 17500, it is necessary to show only that members of the public are likely to be deceived. Actual deception or confusion is not required. The court may order relief without individualized proof of deception, reliance, and injury if it determines that such a remedy is necessary to prevent the use or employment of the unfair practice. People v Dollar Rent-A-Car Systems, Inc. (1989, 1st Dist) 211 Cal App 3d 119, 259 Cal Rptr 191
Defendant publishers' motions for summary judgment were granted as to all claims except for the claim that one publisher's prompt-pay sweepstakes was an illegal lottery, in an action on behalf of plaintiff and the general public of California, seeking to enjoin various statements by defendants in their magazine sweepstakes solicitations. Plaintiff claimed sweepstakes solicitations violated state laws prohibiting false and misleading advertising, that the operation of the sweepstakes constituted an unfair business practice, and that they were illegal lotteries. The sweepstakes did not fit within the scope of the lottery statute merely because some customers came to believe they could enhance their chances of receiving further solicitations if they purchased a product. Because eligibility for customer-only sweepstakes did not hinge on the payment of consideration, they were not illegal. However, it could not be determined whether the prompt-pay sweepstakes imposed a new obligation on potential entrants and required contestants to pay something to enter. Haskell v Time, Inc. (1997, ED Cal) 965 F Supp 1398
As to infringement of California's statutory right of publicity (CC § 990) and unfair competition and false and misleading advertising in violation of B & P C §§ 17200 and 17500, et seq., the court granted dismissal of the CC § 990 claim because choice of law principles dictated application of the law of Great Britain; denied dismissal as to false endorsement and false origin because likelihood of confusion was a question of fact; noted that plaintiffs sufficiently alleged that their mark had acquired secondary meaning as a source of charitable activities of Diana, Princess of Wales; denied dismissal of false advertising claims; but granted defendants' motion to strike language in the complaint referring to them as "vultures feeding on the dead." Preliminary injunction was denied because plaintiffs failed to establish a likelihood of success on the merits with respect to their false origin and false endorsement, trademark dilution, and false advertising claims. Plaintiffs failed to demonstrate a fair chance of success with respect to claims that defendants' products and advertising created an appreciable risk of consumer confusion, that asserted service marks acquired secondary meaning for purposes of exclusive use of "Diana, Princess of Wales" and "Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund," or that defendants' advertising was false and misleading. After one defendant had purchased a dress sold by Princess Diana at a charity auction, defendants filed an intent to use trademark application for "Diana, Forever A Princess" and later sought permission to utilize Princess Diana's name and likeness on products and in advertising. Cairns v Franklin Mint Co. (1998, CD Cal) 24 F Supp 2d 1013, affd (CA9 Cal) 216 F.3d 1082

4. -Proper
Advertisements under the name "Westminster Memorial Park," representing a common location of a mortuary and cemetery did not give a false impression of sole ownership by a single entity offering both services, or imply that the mortuary was doing cemetery business or vice versa, where Westminster Memorial Park was part and parcel of the official name of the cemetery and the mortuary, both entities were located in Westminster Memorial Park, nothing in the advertisements was directed toward ownership entities or licensing, and a person of ordinary intelligence reading the advertisements would conclude only that both mortuary and cemetery services were available at the same location. State Board of Funeral Directors & Embalmers v Mortuary in Westminster Memorial Park (1969, 4th Dist) 271 Cal App 2d 638, 76 Cal Rptr 832
16 Cal Admin Code § 1834, making the use of a Ph.D. degree from an unaccredited school in connection with marriage and family counseling improper advertising, is void as applied to persons licensed or entitled to be licensed as marriage and family counselors under B & P C § 17804, since it is beyond the authority conferred on the Board of Behavioral Science Examiners by § 17806; while § 17820 provides that the board may suspend or revoke a license for unprofessional conduct, including improper advertising, there was nothing on the facts of the instant case to indicate that use of the degree by such persons was misleading within the meaning of this section. College of Psychological & Social Studies v Board of Behavioral Science Examiners (1974, 2nd Dist) 41 Cal App 3d 367, 116 Cal Rptr 128
B & P C § 17200 is not confined to anticompetitive business practices, but is also directed toward the public's right to protection from fraud, deceit, and unlawful conduct. Thus, California courts have consistently interpreted the language of § 17200 broadly. The statute imposes strict liability; it is not necessary to show that the defendant intended to injure anyone. To state a claim under § 17200, a plaintiff need not plead and prove the elements of a tort. Instead, one need only show that members of the public are likely to be deceived. Allegations of actual deception, reasonable reliance, and damage are unnecessary. Further, the statute authorizes courts to order restitution without individualized proof of deception, reliance, and injury if necessary to prevent the use or employment of an unfair practice. Because § 17200's definition is disjunctive, the statute is violated where a defendant's act or practice is unlawful, unfair, fraudulent or in violation of § 17500. South Bay Chevrolet v General Motors Acceptance Corp. (1999, 4th Dist) 72 Cal App 4th 861, 877, 85 Cal Rptr 2d 301
The unlawful practices prohibited by B & P C § 17200 are any practices forbidden by law, be it civil or criminal, federal, state, or municipal, statutory, regulatory, or court-made. It is not necessary that the predicate law provide for private civil enforcement. Section 17200 borrows violations of other laws and treats them as unlawful practices independently actionable under §§ 17200 et seq. Here, plaintiff car dealership's contention that defendant auto financing company's business practice of calculating interest under the 365/360 method was unlawful as contrary to B & P C § 17500, CC § 1916, contract law, and public policy was without merit. California has no law or regulation requiring a lender to use a 265-day year in computing interest or quoting annual interest rates on commercial loans. Nor did defendant's conduct constitute an unfair business practice or a fraudulent business practice, and it was not misleading advertising. South Bay Chevrolet v General Motors Acceptance Corp. (1999, 4th Dist) 72 Cal App 4th 861, 881, 85 Cal Rptr 2d 301

5. -Misleading
An advertisement which read: "Special sale (of named) tubes 50% off regular first-line tube list price," where the named tubes were not first-line but third-line tubes, was deceptive and misleading in its implications, although literally true, and was within the ban of this statute. People v Wahl (1940, App Dep't Super Ct) 39 Cal App 2d Supp 771, 100 P2d 550
In unfair competition action, determination that defendant corporation knowingly participated in deceptive conduct was supported by evidence that defendant corporation and individual defendants used plaintiff corporation's name in their advertising efforts in misleading manner in that their communications directed to prospective customers were framed in language that reasonably conveyed meaning that plaintiff corporation's machine parts were used by individual defendant in rebuilding of machines manufactured by plaintiff corporation, whereas parts made by defendant corporation under individual defendant's supervision were in fact used. Tri-Q, Inc. v Sta-Hi Corp. (1965) 63 Cal 2d 199, 45 Cal Rptr 878, 404 P2d 486
An indictment for conspiracy to violate Pen C § 311.5, relating to the offense of creating advertising matter represented or held out to be obscene, and B & P C § 17500, relating to the offense of false and misleading advertising, was supported by evidence warranting an inference that all defendants knew that what they were doing was wrong in that their brochure impliedly promised one thing and that they were delivering something less than that promise, and it was not necessary to show that any of the defendants knew of the existence of such statutes. People v Tierney (1967, 1st Dist) 253 Cal App 2d 1, 61 Cal Rptr 164
In an action to restrain defendants from engaging in untrue and misleading advertising practices, such defendants who, in the disseminated advertising materials, held themselves out to the public as experts in the law of trusts, taxation, and probate, are chargeable with knowledge of the law applicable to such trusts; and where the statements were made in an absolute, unqualified, and positive manner, defendants, by the exercise of reasonable care, should have known that the statements were untrue or misleading. People ex rel. Mosk v Lynam (1967, 2nd Dist) 253 Cal App 2d 959, 61 Cal Rptr 800
In an action against a bank by a borrower, the trial court properly granted defendant's motion for summary judgment as to a count seeking damages on the basis of allegations that defendant's method of computing interest rates was misleading within the meaning of B & P C, § 17500. Under B & P C, § 17535, private relief is limited to the filing of an action for an injunction, and civil penalties are recoverable under B & P C, §§ 17535.5, 17536, only by specified public officers. Chern v Bank of America (1976) 15 Cal 3d 866, 127 Cal Rptr 110, 544 P2d 1310
Knowingly untrue or misleading statements made with the intent to induce the public to enter into obligations come squarely within the prohibitions of Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17500. People ex rel. Bill Lockyer v Fremont Life Ins. Co. (2002, 2nd Dist) 104 Cal App 4th 508, 128 Cal Rptr 2d 463
Fraud prong of Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200 bears little resemblance to common law fraud or deception; under § 17200, the test is whether the public is likely to be deceived. This means that a § 17200 violation, unlike common law fraud, can be shown even if no one was actually deceived, relied upon the fraudulent practice, or sustained any damage. People ex rel. Bill Lockyer v Fremont Life Ins. Co. (2002, 2nd Dist) 104 Cal App 4th 508, 128 Cal Rptr 2d 463
Insured's survivor failed to show that an insurance company violated Bus & Prof C §§ 17200 or 17500 by using misleading advertising to persuade consumers to purchase an accidental death and dismemberment policy, but presented enough evidence that the insured's death after surgery was not accidental to avoid a motion for summary judgment on a claim that the company breached the insurance contract by rejecting a claim for accidental death. Heighley v J.C. Penney Life Ins. Co. (2003, CD Cal) 257 F Supp 2d 1241

6. -False
Defendant president of an automobile dealership was properly held criminally liable on charges arising out of the sale of automobiles by allegedly false representations made to members of the general public, where an employee testified that both defendant and his brother, who was general manager, operated the business, and that defendant conducted the sales activities in his brother's absence; where, after being informed of the unlawful activities of his subordinates by a special investigator for the Department of Motor Vehicles, and by a consumer representative, defendant allowed the subordinates to continue in their positions and carry on their unlawful practices for the benefit of the dealership; and where the evidence showed a repeated pattern of illegal conduct by the agents of the dealership, inferentially indicating defendant's toleration, ratification, or authorization of the illegal actions. People v Conway (1974, 2nd Dist) 42 Cal App 3d 875, 117 Cal Rptr 251
A complaint by organizations, parents, and children against a manufacturer, retailer, and two advertising agencies alleging fraudulent, misleading and deceptive advertising in the marketing of sugared breakfast cereals over a period of four years, designed to persuade children, by imagery and example, to influence their parents to buy sugared cereal, alleged sufficient facts to notify defendants of the claim made against them and to frame the issues for litigation, and the allegations were thus sufficient to overcome a general demurrer and to state causes of action for injunctive relief and restitution under both the false advertising law (Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 17500-17572) and the unfair competition law (Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 17200-17208). The complaint described the alleged deceptive scheme in considerable detail, leaving no doubt as to what advertisements were at issue and as to what deceptive practices were called into question. The contention that the words and images did not constitute misrepresentations, and did not conceal material facts, framed an issue for trial, not demurrer. Committee on Children's Television, Inc. v General Foods Corp. (1983) 35 Cal 3d 197, 197 Cal Rptr 783, 673 P2d 660
Plaintiff sued on behalf of the general public, contending that publishers' advertisements on the covers of books and videotapes, trumpeting falsely inflated investment returns, violated California's false advertising and unfair business practice laws, and the trial court erroneously sustained defendants' demurrers without leave to amend. The complaint stated causes of action for false advertising and unfair business practice and that the advertising, alleged in the complaint to be false, was commercial speech which was not, in the context presented, protected by the First Amendment. As commercial speech, the statements were entitled only to qualified free speech protection. Keimer v Buena Vista Books, Inc. (1999, 1st Dist) 75 Cal App 4th 1220, 1226, 89 Cal Rptr 2d 781
In an action brought by plaintiff against defendant manufacturer of dietary supplements for, inter alia, violation of California's false advertising law, even if the manufacturer's list of a product's ingredients on product labels and on its Web site satisfied the first prong of Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 425.16 that the cause of action arose from protected speech, the trial court properly denied the manufacturer's motion to strike the complaint because plaintiff provided sufficient admissible evidence to show he had a probability of prevailing on the merits of his claims. Nagel v Twin Laboratories., Inc. (2003, 4th Dist) 109 Cal App 4th 39, 134 Cal Rptr 2d 420
Manufacturer's anti-SLAPP motion to strike a consumer's personal injury complaint was properly denied because although the gravamen of the consumer's false advertising claim was that the manufacturer had made false claims in its advertising about its product, such advertising was not a public issue as contemplated CCP by § 425.16 because it was about a specific consumer product and was made only for the purposes of increasing the sales of that particular product; hence, CCP § 425.16 did not apply to the false advertising claim. Scott v Metabolife Internat., Inc. (2004, Cal App 3rd Dist) 2004 Cal App LEXIS 115, 2004 CDOS 840

7. Actions
In action to enjoin prosecution for advertising drug in violation of former H & S C § 26271, predicated on alleged unconstitutional discrimination in provision declaring representations of effectiveness of drugs in certain diseases are deemed false, complaint does not state cause of action where it does not allege that plaintiff's product does have beneficial effect in one of specified diseases and that he is about to be prosecuted for advertising that fact. Neslen v Board of Health (1945) 70 Cal App 2d 202, 160 P2d 862
In prosecution of chiropractor for conspiracy to commit theft and crime of false advertising, it is proper to admit case histories from his files and machines used by him in treatment of cancer taken in search during his arrest for violation of H & S C § 26286.5 and connected with such violation. People v Schmitt (1957, 2nd Dist) 155 Cal App 2d 87, 317 P2d 673
In a civil action by the Attorney General charging false advertising and seeking several forms of relief, mandamus was appropriate to review rulings declaring that the complaint did not allege certain matters with sufficient specificity, and also striking all forms of relief sought by plaintiff other than an injunction in futuro. People v Superior Court of Los Angeles County (1973) 9 Cal 3d 283, 107 Cal Rptr 192, 507 P2d 1400
In an action commenced by the People seeking to enjoin a meat processor from selling allegedly short-weight packages of bacon at the retail level, the law of the case was, as set forth in a decision on a prior appeal on the processor's cross-complaint for declaratory relief, that B & P C § 12211, authorizing the State Director of Weights and Measures to promulgate a weighing procedure, and those portions of 4 Cal Admin Code § 2930 et seq., setting forth a procedure for weighing and averaging package lots in accord with the statute, are inoperative in that they are pre-empted by the federal Wholesome Meat Act. Both the complaint and cross-complaint involved the same operative facts and questions of law, and, though the cross-complaint, as well as a related federal decision given res judicata effect on the prior appeal, involved named state officials only, rather than the "People," it sought injunctive relief against all those state officials empowered to enforce state statutes regulating meat package misbranding; moreover, the federal court holding was, as a matter of law, res judicata in regard to "the People" and "the state." People v Rath Packing Co. (1974, 4th Dist) 44 Cal App 3d 56, 118 Cal Rptr 438
In an action by a borrower against a bank, the trial court erred in granting defendant's motion for summary judgment as to a count seeking injunctive relief under B & PC, § 17535, on the basis of allegations that the bank followed the practice of quoting a "per annum" interest rate on the basis of a 360-day year in its initial contacts with prospective borrowers and later advised the customer through a "truth in lending" statement that a higher annual percentage rate would actually be charged. B & P C, § 17500, prohibiting the making of untrue or misleading statements as to the price of personal property or services is sufficiently broad to include false or misleading statements made to the public by banking institutions in connection with their loans, and, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, it must be assumed that the public is likely to understand that a "per annum" rate is an annual rate based on a 365-day calendar year, and the challenged practice might unfairly entice persons to commence loan negotiations in the expectation of obtaining the lower rate initially quoted. Moreover, federal regulations require that a creditor's total finance charges be quoted only in terms of the annual percentage rate. Chern v Bank of America (1976) 15 Cal 3d 866, 127 Cal Rptr 110, 544 P2d 1310
In an action by the state against a cleaning products company, its holding company, and corporate officers, in which it was alleged in two causes of action that defendants' marketing recruitment plan violated Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17500, prohibiting "untrue or misleading" statements, and that defendants were violating a consent decree in a prior action involving the recruitment plan and were operating an "endless chain" scheme prohibited by Pen. Code, § 327, the issue of violation of the consent decree was properly tried and determined under the first cause of action, even though it was only specifically mentioned in the second cause, which was dismissed during trial, where the court found that some of defendants' conduct in violation of the decree was deceptive, and where the record showed that defendants abandoned their attempt to justify their conduct with respect to the consent decree as fruitless rather than because they were misled as to the need for such justification. People v Bestline Products, Inc. (1976, 2nd Dist) 61 Cal App 3d 879, 132 Cal Rptr 767
An action against a seller of discount casino and shopping coupons charging him, first, with misrepresentations and nondisclosures (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17500), second, with unfair competition (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17200) with respect to the sale of casino coupons, third, with violation of a preliminary injunction (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17535.5), and fourth, with violation of the statute governing home solicitation sales (Civ. Code, § 1689.5 et seq.), was civil in nature, not penal, and the substantial evidence standard of review generally used in civil actions was proper. People v Toomey (1984, 1st Dist) 157 Cal App 3d 1, 203 Cal Rptr 642
In a class action against a federal savings and loan association, its former and current parent companies, and its brokerage subsidiary, for unfair and deceptive business practices in violation of Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 17200 (unfair competition) and 17500 (false advertising), fraud, and negligent misrepresentation in connection with inducing association customers to purchase the subsidiary's investment products that, unlike the products of the federally insured association, were subject to substantial risk of loss, the trial court erred in dismissing the claims on federal preemption grounds. The lawsuit did not, in effect, regulate the operations of a savings association. Actions for fraud are governed almost exclusively by state law, and do not raise issues of great federal interest. Congress did not intend to preempt common law tort claims, effectively granting savings associations immunity from such state law claims. Plaintiff's ability to sue for fraud did not interfere with what the association could do (how it could conduct its operations); plaintiff only insisted that the association not misrepresent how it operated, or employ fraudulent methods. The state could not dictate to the association how it could or could not operate, but the state could insist that the association operate free from fraud and other deceptive practices. Fenning v Glenfed, Inc. (1995, 2nd Dist) 40 Cal App 4th 1285, 47 Cal Rptr 2d 715
Claims under Bus & Prof C §§ 17200 (unfair competition), 17500 et seq. (false and misleading statements) withstood motions to dismiss in an action for unlawful importing, advertising, promoting and using plaintiff's laser system (used to correct vision disorders). Any unlawful business practice, including violations of laws for which there is no direct private right of action, may be redressed by a private action under Bus & Prof C § 17200. It is not necessary that the predicate law provide for private civil enforcement. Plaintiff could redress violations of the California Sherman Act (H & Saf C §§ 26000), California Consumer Legal Remedies Act (Bus & Prof C § 2234), and certain federal Lanham Act claims. Also, all the allegedly false or misleading statements actionable under federal law were actionable under Bus & Prof C §§ 17500 et seq. Summit Tech. v. High-Line Medical Instruments, Co. (1996, CD Cal) 933 F Supp. 918
In an action against a title insurance company brought by the sellers of real property acquired at a tax sale, alleging that title insurers in the county had agreed to deny title insurance to purchasers of property with a tax sale in the chain of title, the trial court erred in sustaining the defendant's demurrer without leave to amend. The plaintiffs properly stated a cause of action alleging a violation of B & P C § 17500. B & P C § 17500 prohibits advertising property or services with untrue or misleading statements or with the intent not to sell at the advertised price. It prohibits, inter alia, untrue or misleading statements "concerning any circumstance or matter of fact connected with the proposed performance or disposition [of property]." Advertising that title insurance is necessary and will be issued on any property with good title, when in fact it will not be issued on tax-deeded property may be deemed both misleading and false. By failing to exclude tax-deeded property from the representation that title insurance will be issued, such advertising may induce a buyer to enter into a contract for the purchase of land in the anticipation that title insurance will be available. By representing that title insurance will be issued whenever there is "good" title, the advertisement may be deemed false if a tax deed is "good" title. Quelimane Co. v Stewart Title Guaranty Co. (1998) 19 Cal 4th 26, 77 Cal Rptr 2d 709, 960 P2d 513
In an action for unfair and misleading practices under B & P C §§ 17200 and 17500, brought by several individuals acting as private attorneys general against providers of telephone services and nonprovider phone card retailers, alleging that the defendants had failed to disclose in their advertising and packaging materials that calls made with the cards would be charged by rounding up to the next full minute, the filed rate doctrine (47 USC § 203(a)) did not bar a claim for injunctive relief in that the policies which are furthered by B & P C §§ 17200 and 17500 would be undermined by the filed rate doctrine's presumption of a consumer's omniscience of filed rates and the resulting immunity to common carriers, regardless of any advertising deception used to lure the consumer. However, the plaintiffs' claim for monetary recovery was barred by the filed rate doctrine, in that the net effect of imposing monetary sanctions on the defendants would be to effectuate a rebate, thus resulting in discriminatory rates. This is a matter which is strictly of federal concern under the Federal Communications Act (47 USC § 203(a)). Day v AT & T Corp. (1998, 1st Dist) 63 Cal App 4th 325, 74 Cal Rptr 2d 55
Plaintiff's cause of action against an insurer for which plaintiff performed plumbing and insurance claim work, for unfair competition, was dismissed with leave to amend. Private individuals cannot seek damages for unfair business practices under B & P C § 17200. Private remedies are limited to equitable relief; and civil penalties are recoverable only by specified public officers (B & P C §§ 17200, 17203-17206). Also, a cause of action for unfair competition under B & P C § 17500 was dismissed with leave to amend. B & P C § 17500 provides only for criminal penalties. Individuals may seek remedy for violations of B & P C § 17500 through B & P C § 17200. However, private remedies are limited to equitable relief; civil penalties are recoverable only by specified public officers (B & P C §§ 17500, 17535). Brown v Allstate Ins. Co. (1998, SD Cal) 17 F Supp 2d 1134
The false advertising laws of B & P C §§ 17500 et seq., prohibiting untrue or misleading statements, undoubtedly apply to representations made by fundraisers with the intent of obtaining charitable solicitations. B & P C § 17535 allows the Attorney General to seek injunctive relief against certain practices violating § 17500. The test of a cause of action is whether the advertising is such that members of the public are likely to be deceived. Allegations of actual deception, reasonable reliance, and damage are unnecessary. People v Orange County Charitable Services (1999, 4th Dist) 73 Cal App 4th 1054, 1075, 87 Cal Rptr 2d 253
Because none of defendant's written or oral communications made in California were directed to consumers outside of the state, only California consumers could proceed on a claim under the False Advertising Act. Churchill Village, L.L.C. v GE (2000, ND Cal) 169 F Supp 2d 1119
Defendant's settlement with the Consumer Protection and Safety Commission did not divest the court of the authority to act; further, Congress intended the savings clause in the Consumer Protection and Safety Act to preclude the preemption of claims of false advertising and unfair business practices because compliance with federal consumer product safety rules did not relieve defendant of liability under state common law or statute. Churchill Village, L.L.C. v GE (2000, ND Cal) 169 F Supp 2d 1119
Life insurance company that made representations to the public that its affiliate was an organization that functioned on behalf of senior citizens, rather than a sales organization, made knowingly untrue or misleading statements with the intent to induce the public to enter into obligations with respect to the company's annuity policy in violation of Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17500. People ex rel. Bill Lockyer v Fremont Life Ins. Co. (2002, 2nd Dist) 104 Cal App 4th 508, 128 Cal Rptr 2d 463
Federal Arbitration Act did not require that a health plan enrollee arbitrate his injunctive claims against health care companies under the Consumer Legal Remedies Act and Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17500 because he was acting as a private attorney general, prosecuting the claims for the general public, namely, the numerous other plan enrollees in California and because the arbitration system was not capable of monitoring public injunctions. Cruz v PacifiCare Health Systems, Inc. (2003) 30 Cal 4th 303, 133 Cal Rptr 2d 58, 66 P3d 1157
In the absence of evidence that allegedly deceptive advertising targeted particularly vulnerable consumers, the standard in cases under the false advertising law, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17500, is that of the ordinary consumer acting reasonably under the circumstances, rather than the least sophisticated consumer. Lavie v Procter & Gamble Co. (2003, 1st Dist) 105 Cal App 4th 496, 129 Cal Rptr 2d 486
Where plaintiffs' action under § 43(a) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C.S. § 1125(a) was dismissed based upon a ruling in the matter issued by the United States Supreme Court, that found that defendants' acts were not misleading, plaintiffs' remaining claims for unfair competition under B & P C §§ 17200, 17500 were also not actionable because the state law claims were congruent to the Lanham Act claim and required similar findings of misconduct. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. v Dastar Corp. (2003, CD Cal) 2003 US Dist LEXIS 21194, 68 USPQ2d 1536
An arbitration agreement's provision requiring the parties to bear their own attorney's fees was severable and did not preclude enforcement of arbitration clause as to plaintiff consumers' claims under B & P C §§ 17200 et seq. and §§ 17500 et seq., the Truth in Lending Act, 15 U.S.C.S. §§ 1601 et seq., and the California Consumers Legal Remedies Act, CC §§ 1750 et seq.; the original credit card agreement had a severability clause. Stuart v Household Retail Servs. (2000, CD Cal) 2000 US Dist LEXIS 22509
Makers of "stash" containers that infringed on well-known snack and soda products, in violation of both § 43(a) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C.S. § 1125(a), and Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 17500, et seq., were subject to a permanent injunction, treble damages, and recall of the infringing products. Pepsico, Inc. v Cal. Sec. Cans (2002, CD Cal) 2002 US Dist LEXIS 22404
In a consumer class action brought against defendant car company, alleging, inter alia, violations of Bus & Prof C §§ 17200 and 17500, based on an allegedly faulty brake system affecting certain vehicles, which action had been removed to federal court by defendant, plaintiff's ex parte application for remand back to state court was granted because the amount in controversy did not exceed $75,000. Plaintiff did not seek punitive damages, and defendant could not include punitive damages in calculating the amount in controversy simply because plaintiff could seek punitive damages; moreover, the class members' claims could not be aggregated nor could the court look to the cost to defendant to determine the amount in controversy. Ecker v Ford Motor Co. (2002, CD Cal) 2002 US Dist LEXIS 26229
Retail stores' request to dismiss the husband and wife's claims under B & P C §§ 17200 and 17500 as barred by B & P C § 17208 or CCP § 338(a) was granted because action for unfair competition, which was based on claims that the retail stores sold cigarettes to the husband when he was a minor, accrued, at the latest, in 1968, and the complaint contained no specific allegations of negligent and intentional false advertising in violation of B & P C § 17500 in the three or four years prior to the commencement of the action. Harshbarger v Philip Morris, Inc. (2003, ND Cal) 2003 US Dist LEXIS 25023
Retail stores' request to dismiss claims for loss of consortium and violation of B & P C §§ 17200 and 17500 as barred by the immunity granted to them under CC § 1714.45 should have been granted because despite the fact that the injuries for which the husband and wife sought recovery were not physical and the claims were not tort actions, at the crux of those allegations were claims for injury or death caused by a product, the definition of a product liability action as it appeared in the immunity statute, CC § 17114.45. Harshbarger v Philip Morris, Inc. (2003, ND Cal) 2003 US Dist LEXIS 25023
Motion to dismiss was granted with regard to the unfair competition, B & P C § 17200 et seq., and the false advertising, B & P C § 17500 et seq., claims against the cigarette manufacturers and retailers because claims against the manufacturers were subject to the preemptive effect of the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act of 1965 (FCLAA), as amended by the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act of 1969, 15 U.S.C.S. § 1331 et seq., which required that plaintiffs claims had to be based on events that occurred before 1969 and equitable tolling did not apply because the dangers of cigarettes and the health hazards of smoking and the addictive nature of nicotine were common knowledge. The claims against the retailers were dismissed because they were barred by CC § 1714.45, California's immunity statute. Rodarte v Philip Morris, Inc. (2003, CD Cal) 2003 US Dist LEXIS 25067

8. Damages and Penalties
The Attorney General has only one cause of action against a particular defendant for violating this section, but the amount of civil penalties which may be imposed under B & P C § 17536 is dependent on the number of violations committed by a defendant. People ex rel. Mosk v Lynam (1967, 2nd Dist) 253 Cal App 2d 959, 61 Cal Rptr 800
Under proper allegations, civil damages may be awarded pursuant to Civ. Code, § 3369, authorizing the enjoining of unfair competition, and Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 17500, 17535, proscribing the making of false representations to the public and authorizing the enjoining of proscribed advertising practices. United Farm Workers v Superior Court (1975, 5th Dist) 47 Cal App 3d 334, 120 Cal Rptr 904
Under Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17536, providing for a civil penalty of $2500 or less for each violation of the false or misleading advertising statute, Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17500, a single false or misleading publication in a newspaper advertisement constitutes a minimum of one violation with as many additional violations as there are persons who read the advertisement or who responded to the advertisement by purchasing the advertised product or service or by making inquiries concerning such product or service. Thus, in an action by a district attorney against a real estate firm seeking civil penalties and injunctive relief for the alleged dissemination of false and deceptive newspaper advertisements in violation of Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 17200 and 17500 (the unfair competition statute), the trial court erred in ruling that each appearance of a false advertisement in a single edition of a newspaper constituted only a single violation of § 17500 and of § 17200 for which a maximum penalty of $5,000 could be imposed. In determining the reasonableness of a penalty under § 17536, the court must consider all pertinent factors including the kind of misrepresentations or deceptions, whether they were intentionally made or the result of negligence, the circulation of the newspaper, the nature and extent of the public injury, and the size and wealth of the advertising enterprise. People v Superior Court (Olson) (1979, 4th Dist) 96 Cal App 3d 181, 157 Cal Rptr 628
In an action against a seller of discount casino and shopping coupons charged with misleading solicitations, assessment of $150,000 in civil penalties for violation of Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 17200 (unfair competition), and 17500 (false advertising), in addition to a $150,000 penalty for violation of a preliminary injunction (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17535.5) and restitution (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17535) was not excessive as a matter of law. Determination of the number of violations of §§ 17200 and 17500 depends on the circumstances of the case, and the trial court properly used the number of sales, which it estimated at at least 150,000. Since Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 17205 and 17534.5, specifically allow for cumulative remedies, the trial court properly assessed penalties under both Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 17206 and 17536, for each violation; and since §§ 17206 and 17536 each allows a maximum penalty of $2500 per violation, the court's assessment was clearly reasonable. With respect to violation of the preliminary injunction, since § 17535.5 permitted an award of up to $6,000, and since the seller had repeatedly violated the injunction, the award was reasonable. Finally, since the statutes authorizing restitution (Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 17203 and 17535) did not make reliance or actual damages a condition to an award, it was proper for the trial court not to limit restitution to purchasers who appeared at trial and requested refunds. People v Toomey (1984, 1st Dist) 157 Cal App 3d 1, 203 Cal Rptr 642
A violation of Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 17200, 17500 (unfair competition and false and misleading statements), does not depend on potential customers reading a misleading contract. Such an interpretation would defeat the purpose behind the statutes, which is to protect against the likelihood of deception to the public, not just actual harm. The court may impose liability and civil penalties without individualized proof of reliance, deception, and injury if it is convinced that such a remedy is necessary to deter unfair practices. People v Dollar Rent-A-Car Systems, Inc. (1989, 1st Dist) 211 Cal App 3d 119, 259 Cal Rptr 191
Civil penalties of $3,000 imposed against an automotive repair business and its owner pursuant to Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17206, subd. (a), for false advertising (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17500), and violations of the Automotive Repair Act (Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 9884.7 [invalidation of registration for negligent or fraudulent work], 9884.9 [providing written estimate to customer]) did not violate the double jeopardy clause (U.S. Const., 5th Amend.), even though the same business and owner had been ordered to pay $4,600 in reimbursement for investigation costs, and the business had been closed for two weeks and placed on probation for three years, following a prior administrative proceeding. There were no monetary penalties in the prior administrative proceeding: The $4,600 sum ordered in the administrative action was remedial, to reimburse the costs of investigation. Furthermore, the purpose of the act (including its provisions for administrative action to suspend or revoke the dealership revocation) is protection of the public, not punishment. Since administrative actions do not involve punishment, they are not foreclosed by prior criminal actions and do not bar subsequent criminal proceedings. People v Damon (1996, 3rd Dist) 51 Cal App 4th 958, 59 Cal Rptr 2d 504
Where the trial court found 300 separate violations of Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200 et seq., as well as 400 violations of Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17500 et seq., the imposition of civil penalties and issuance of a permanent injunction were affirmed because Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 17206, 17536 did not require the State to present evidence of an appellant's financial condition in that the court was required to impose a penalty even in the absence of any evidence as to an appellant's financial status, statutory penalties did not equate with punitive damages, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in assessing the penalty amount or in holding the appellants jointly and severally liable, and the trial court did not abuse its discretion in issuing the permanent injunction because the individuals were principals of the corporation who acted unscrupulously. People v First Federal Credit Corp. (2002, 2nd Dist) 104 Cal App 4th 721, 128 Cal Rptr 2d 542

9. Jurisdiction
Public utility commission (PUC) did not have jurisdiction over a consumer groups' Unfair Competition Law claims against a telephone company under the Unfair Business Practices Act, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200 et seq., and the False Advertising Act, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17500 et seq., jurisdiction for those claims was solely in the superior court. Greenlining Institute v Public Utilities Com. (2002, 1st Dist) 103 Cal App 4th 1324, 127 Cal Rptr 2d 736

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