Everyone who owns a business promotes their products and services, in one way or another, as a legitimate part of their business activities.   Very often, that promotion includes the business owner’s very unscientific or unverified statements or opinions as to the quality or value of the products or services being offered.   We all tend to embellish, at least, a little bit when describing what we have or what we do whether in our business or in our personal life.  It is just part of being human.

How many times have you seen statements that tell you “we serve the best food in town” or “he is the most skilled doctor around” or “she is the most experienced accountant”?  None of us completely rely on those promotional statements when choosing where to eat or who to hire.  We generally take those kinds of statements with a grain of salt as being merely opinions not proven facts.

Many of us have experienced the classic sales pitch from a car dealer who tells you that the car he is trying to sell you “is the best car on the market”.   Is it truly the best car on the market or is he just exaggerating?   This very thing has been tested in the Courts and has been found to be legally acceptable as mere “puffing” which means that such statements are recognized as statements of opinion and can’t be relied on as a fact.  In other words, the Courts have stated that there is no fraud or misrepresentation in a little bit of boasting or embellishment to make a sale.

Since the value of something is always in the eye of the beholder, it is difficult to make the case that when a business owner proudly boasts as to how good his products or services are that he is misleading his customers.   Certainly, the line is crossed if we are induced to buy damaged, defective, or inferior goods through outright lies and deception.   It may be a fuzzy line between boasting and lying, but I think we all can understand and appreciate the difference.

So, let the buyer beware but also let the business owner be fair and honest even if he is a little boastful.

On Monday, Joe gives his opinion on gun ownership in “Is It Right To Bear Arms?”.