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The Ethics Coach on Misrepresentation We tackle the ethical dilemmas of pretending to be bigger than you are, selling products you get for free, and quitting your job to become the competition.

By Gael O'Brien

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Do you have an ethical dilemma? Write to The Ethics Coach at

Q: When answering the phone, is it ethical for a sole proprietor to change his voice and pretend to be an assistant so his company appears larger and more professional? What separates that, theoretically, from behavior like renting a nicer suit than you can afford?

Misrepresenting your business by faking an accent or using other smoke-and-mirrors tactics is not only unethical but stupid, and guaranteed to backfire. As soon as clients figure it out (and they will), they'll stampede in the opposite direction.

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