We have published a new Enforcement Notice about the digital advertising of free trials and other promotional subscription models.

In recent years, the subscription market has seen huge growth, in part accelerated by lockdown. Consumers can choose from a wide variety of subscription services to suit their interests and lifestyles, with those offering them ranging from comparatively small start-ups to high-profile companies. Research from Citizens Advice has found that three in four people in the UK (73%) have at least one subscription, while one in four (26%) have signed up to a subscription service by accident, in most instances, because they didn’t get round to cancelling a free trial.

A dataset captured by our Data Science team in late 2022 indicated that some advertisers are not complying with our 2017 guidance on “free trials” or other promotional subscription models.

We are therefore issuing an Enforcement Notice to ensure companies offering subscription services understand how to promote their products and services in a compliant way.

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