In 2019, over 1.7 million cases of fraud were reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), resulting in $232 million returned to consumers through lawsuits. Fraud is considered a white-collar (non-violent and financially motivated) crime and is defined as obtaining property or any other type of value (money, services, etc.) through deceit. Although the word fraud often brings to mind identity theft, there are many other types of fraud that can occur (even if unintentionally). Sometimes, consumers may accuse companies or salespeople of fraud because of specific sales tactics used.
In this brief article, a fraud defense lawyer in Tampa will discuss two common sales tactics that may garner accusations of fraud. Criminal fraud is a serious crime that can result in excessive fines and even a prison sentence. If you have been accused of fraud, it is important to obtain legal counsel to help you understand your rights.
Related: 8 Ways You Can Be Accused of Fraud
The use of high-pressure sales tactics can constitute fraud. An example of a high-pressure sales tactic is the use of manipulative sales pitches that are designed to rush the buyer into making a decision they may later regret. This specifically may become an issue in selling investment opportunities.
Any legitimate, lucrative investment will not be marketed as a “limited time offer” that “may be gone tomorrow.” Salespeople use these tactics to place a sense of urgency on their investment opportunity to convince you to enter the scam without properly understanding the investment. If you are in charge of making sales, analyze the claims you are putting forth and understand the ways it may be construed as fraud if part of your tactic requires the assertion that the investment or sale is a limited time offer.
The bait and switch sales tactic lures customers in with the promise of one product, service, or investment opportunity only to be told that it is no longer available in order to upsell a similar, pricier item. Usually, the deal advertised seems too good to be true, or the deal advertised does not exist at all.
It is legal to advertise something that has limited availability or to provide rain checks; however, offering a teaser rate that doesn’t exist to get clients in the door may legally constitute fraud. For example, let’s say a mortgage broker advertises extremely low interest rates that do not exist in order to entice homebuyers to prequalify for loans only to pressure them into accepting a higher rate. This type of fraud may be present in sales tactics for everything from cars and homes to clothing and games.
Related: Types of Fraud Cases
If you have been accused of a white-collar crime such as fraud, it is important to speak to an attorney right away. A white collar defense attorney in Tampa will fight to protect you from incurring steep fines, a prison sentence, or a permanent mark on your record. They will also explain your rights and advise you on how to best proceed with future sales to avoid further accusations of fraud.
If you have been accused of sales-related fraud, it is imperative that you consult with a fraud defense lawyer in Tampa from The Rickman Law Firm.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.