Business to consumer (B2C) - The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations govern business to consumer advertising.
Practices which are prohibited include:
- unfair commercial practices (ie if it is considered unprofessional and likely to affect a consumer's ability to make an informed decision about a product)
- aggressive sales practices or pressure selling
- misleading practices (eg advertising goods which don't exist or making incorrect comparisons to other products)
- limited offers - falsely stating that a product will only be available for a short amount of time (or that it will only be available on certain terms for a limited time)
- bait advertising - luring in customers with adverts for products at special prices if the products are not in stock or only in very limited supply
Business to business (B2B) - The Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008 govern business to business advertising. Some of the rules are:
- misleading advertising is prohibited (eg it should not deceive traders in any way or affect their economic behaviour)
- comparative advertising is only permitted subject to certain conditions being met (eg it should not take advantage of the IP rights of a competitor)
Failure to abide by the regulations may lead to the company advertising their products or services being reported to a local trading standards office which can result in fines and prosecution.