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Trading Standards becomes ASA’s legal backstop power

21 November 2013

We’re pleased to announce we’ve reached an agreement with Trading Standards that it will act as our legal backstop. This means we can refer non-broadcast advertisers who continue to break the rules on misleading advertising to Trading Standards who can consider legal sanctions to bring them into line.

The backstop power has transferred to Trading Standards following changes to the law which means the Office of Fair Trading, who previously fulfilled this role, no longer has responsibility in this area.

Any advertiser that persists in breaking the rules through misleading, aggressive or otherwise unfair non-broadcast advertising can face referral. Trading Standards can consider taking action against advertisers under consumer and business protection laws.

In reaching this new arrangement we’ve worked closely with the National Trading Standards Board (NTSB) and London Borough of Camden (LBC) in England and Wales, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment in Northern Ireland and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) in Scotland - ensuring UK wide coverage.

We’ve agreed new case handling principles and, importantly, the ASA remains responsible for regulating advertising – allowing Trading Standards to focus its resources on other consumer issues.

ASA Chief Executive, Guy Parker says: “We already enjoy a close and effective working relationship with Trading Standards. This new arrangement will help us become more joined-up and consistent as well as giving consumers and business confidence that an advertiser who doesn’t play by the rules will face the consequences.”

More information 

Case Handling Principles for the UK 
Case Handling Principles for Scotland 
Case Handling Principles for Northern Ireland

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