Advertised delivery restrictions and surcharges

CAP has published a new Enforcement Notice on Advertised Delivery Restrictions and Surcharges which is applicable to advertisers across the UK.

Online and distance sellers who use parcel delivery services must ensure their ads are in line with the Notice by 31 May 2018. The Compliance team will take targeted enforcement action from this date to ensure a level-playing-field, which may include – where advertisers are unwilling to comply – referral to our legal backstop.

Consumers going postal

Consumers resident in some parts of the UK, particularly Scotland and Northern Ireland, are often subject to additional charges to have goods delivered. We are aware that some online retailers are not making these surcharges clear and upfront. We have seen misleading absolute (i.e. definitive and unconditional) “UK delivery” claims when the charge or service stated does not apply across the UK.

The Notice fits in as part of ongoing enforcement work carried out by the Consumer Protection Partnership, which constitutes the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, CMA, Trading Standards, Citizens Advice, as well as the ASA, CAP and BCAP.

Pushing the envelope

Advertisers must not make incorrect absolute delivery claims. It is reasonable for UK consumers to expect a definitive claim about “UK delivery” to apply to them wherever they live, including Northern Ireland and the Scottish Isles. If there are delivery restrictions or exclusions, these need to be made clear from the outset, with the claim amended if necessary.

Deliver clarity without contradiction

Qualifications about delivery should not contradict the main claim. If there are restrictions on the availability of a delivery offer, advertisers should avoid an absolute claim and instead make clear from the outset the limitations of the offer.

For advice about specific non-broadcast ads, please contact the CAP Copy Advice team.

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