The Control of Misleading Advertisements Regulations 1988

Reference: UK/1988/SI/915

The Control of Misleading Advertisements Regulations 1988 requires the Office of Fair Trading to consider complaints about misleading advertisements.The Regulations are designed to protect both consumers and traders from the effects of advertisements that mislead or make unacceptable comparisons.

Misleading advertising directive

The Control of Misleading Advertisements Regulations 1988 implement Council Directive No. 84/450/EEC relating to misleading advertising.

Power of Office of Fair Trading

The Office of Fair Trading is not required to consider complaints about commercial radio or television advertisements or cable advertisements. Before he considers a complaint the Director may require the person making the complaint to satisfy him that appropriate means of dealing with the complaint have been tried and that, despite being given a reasonable opportunity to do so, those means have not dealt with the complaint adequately (means might include complaining to a local authority trading standards department or to a self-regulatory body, such as the Advertising Standards Authority. It is, however, for the Director to determine what means he considers appropriate in any particular case.)

In dealing with complaints the Director is required to bear in mind all the interests involved, including, in particular, the public interest, and the desirability of encouraging the control, by self-regulatory bodies, of advertisements.

The Director General of Fair Trading is given power to bring proceedings for an injunction to prevent the publication or continued publication of an advertisement which he considers misleading. He is required to give reasons for his decision to bring or not to bring proceedings for an injunction.

The IBA (Independent Broadcasting Authority) was placed under a similar duty to consider complaints about commercial radio and television advertisements. It is required to give reasons for its decisions and in exercising its powers under the Regulations, to have regard to all the interests involved and, in particular, the public interest

Amendments

The amending Regulations deal with the powers of new regulator Ofcom (replacing IBA) in misleading advertisements.