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We reported Arecont lied in a recent ad. Now, Arecont is threatening legal action against IPVM. In this note, we explain how Arecont lied, how their objection ignores our core complaint, and the US laws that cover false advertising.
Arecont's ad falsely misrepresents their performance by showing a very wide Field of View (FoV) in the advertisement but then taking the 'actual image' from a far smaller FoV with a different angle.
Why It's Important
The ability to capture fine details over large areas is a key competitive differentiator in the surveillance camera market. The smaller the FoV, the easier it is for any camera to capture and display such details. Arecont's manipulation of images from two FoVs enables them to deceive and falsely represent the ability of their product to capture such details.
Here's the Law
Not only is this an ethical issue, but multiple US regulations and laws also exist to stop vendors from false advertisement.
For instance, the Federal Trade Commission has rules against this:
The FTC Act prohibits unfair or deceptive advertising in any medium. That is, advertising must tell the truth and not mislead consumers. A claim can be misleading if relevant information is left out or if the claim implies something that's not true.
The Arecont ad clearly implies that the 'actual' image is from the scene displayed in the ad, when it is not, nor is it disclosed in the ad whatsoever.
Additionally, the US Lanham Act protects against this:
In commercial advertising or promotion, misrepresents the nature, characteristics, qualities, or geographic origin of his or her or another person’s goods, services, or commercial activities, shall be liable in a civil action by any person who believes that he or she is or is likely to be damaged by such act.
Indeed, this ad provides grounds for Arecont's competitors to seek damages from Arecont.
The image in the circle labeled 'actual image' in Arecont’s print advertisement is, in fact, an actual, true image from an Arecont camera. Rather than falsely conclude that the image was simply too good to be true and, therefore, that it must be false advertising...
Whether or not the 'actual image' is from an Arecont camera, the core issue remains. The false advertising is a consequence of using an image that is not from the actual scene displayed in the ad but one that is far smaller.
It is puzzling that Arecont is seeking such a public, protracted referendum on their ethics and quality. However, we have clearly explained the facts behind this matter and the reasons why the ad is manipulative, deceiving, and lies to consumers about Arecont's performance. If Arecont has other facts that would change this analysis, we welcome them at any time and would be happy to update our publication.
Another decade? It is fascinating to look back to see both how far things have come in video surveillance (1080p is now relatively low resolution) and how far away things are (anything above 12MP is still very uncommon).