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Dave Hoffman

Dave Hoffman is the Murray Shusterman Professor of Transactional and Business Law at Temple Law School. He specializes in law and psychology, contracts, and quantitative analysis of civil procedure. He currently teaches contracts, civil procedure, corporations, and law and economics.

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1 Response

  1. Ben says:

    Both of you seem to be assuming that consumer comprehension is static, which is wrong. People get burned by false messages and ads and from that consumers as a group change their attitudes about advertising. This is the reason ads in the 1950s differ from ads in the 2000s. Sure, there’s more puffery of late in general, but advertising is not the only factor people look to before buying. They also consider word of mouth, company reputation, and anybody bothering to do independent research into a particular product before buying it will also rely on independent information.

    If puffery is over-regulated consumers will be dulled into not doing their own homework and believing the over-statements of big companies based on the knowledge that these statements are regulated. If puffery is allowed, consumers as a group with time learn to discount the the value of advertising, thereby becoming sharper consumers and thereby being encouraged to investigate before buying rather than relying on commercials.

    I think any proposals that advocate too much regulation and caution have the ironic effect of making consumers more likely to fall victim to ‘supposedly’ regulated advertising. ‘Oh, the government is regulating this, so they can’t be lying.’ Needless to say companies are clever enough to avoid regulation and lie anyway, because enforcement of truth in advertising is too costly, therefore regulation is not only counterproductive, but inefficient and ineffective. Compare: cutting back on overprotective and paternalistic regulations encourages smart consumerism.