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Statements made in advertising aimed at both consumers and other businesses must not mislead and must not omit any material information. There are also specific legal requirements for traders to include details such as their name and a geographical address, and where the advertisement is an invitation to purchase the price of goods or the way in which the price is calculated must be given along with information about postage charges and the right to cancel a contract and return goods. Advertisements which offer credit must comply with consumer credit regulations and are required to provide specified information including the total cost for credit and the APR (annual percentage rate).
Some advertising practices are also prohibited outright. These include:
Complaints about any of these matters can be made to Trading Standards using the contact details below.
In addition the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is responsible for enforcing the Advertising Codes. The ASA was originally set up in 1962 by the advertising industry and it self-regulates in relation to the Non-Broadcast Code of Advertising Practice. Since 2004 it has co-regulated the Broadcast Code of Advertising Practice along with Ofcom. The Codes aim to ensure advertising is 'legal, decent, honest and truthful' and include general rules that advertising must be responsible, must not mislead or offend, and set specific rules that cover advertising to children and for alcohol, gambling, motoring, health and some financial products. Financial advertisements relating to investments are regulated by the Financial Services Authority.
You may receive unwanted advertising material by direct mail or unsolicited phone calls and faxes. To reduce the amount you receive you can register with the Mailing Preference Society using the links below.