Five-point plan to get customers a fair deal

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A consumer watchdog has announced its five priorities in the battle against misleading advertising.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) pledged yesterday to tackle free trials, pricing, daily deals, testimonials and health claims in a bid to ensure customers and businesses get a fair deal.

Some 70 per cent of the cases dealt with by the ASA last year were about misleading advertising, according to its annual report.

ASA chairman Lord Smith said: “Making sure responsible advertising isn’t being under-cut by the irresponsible helps get a fair deal for consumers and competitors.

“Misleading ads hoodwink consumers, give an unfair advantage to businesses that don’t play by the rules and erode trust in advertising. While the majority of ads stick to the rules, we’re determined to tackle those that don’t.”

In 2012, the ASA received more than 31,000 complaints about almost 19,000 ads, and ensured 3,700 of them were changed or withdrawn. Regulating online ads contributed to over 28 per cent of its workload.

A number of ads were banned last year after customers were unwittingly tied into a paid-for service after signing up for a free offer.

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