Online retailers are facing a major crackdown on misleading claims about delivery charges to consumers from next month, with the ad watchdog threatening to take targeted enforcement action to ensure a “level-playing-field”.
From May 31, any company which falls foul of the rules could be reported to Trading Standards and face legal action.
In an enforcement notice published today, the Advertising Standards Authority said that consumers in rural areas often find themselves subject to extra hidden charges, despite firms advertising “UK delivery” in their marketing.
Companies will now have to be upfront about all additional charges, or if there are delivery restrictions or exclusions for certain customers.
The notice is 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.
The ASA said: “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.
“UK consumers are often subject to additional charges to have goods delivered,” ASA said. “We are aware that some online retailers are not making these surcharges clear and upfront. We have seen misleading absolute (ie definitive and unconditional) ‘UK delivery’ claims when the charge or service stated does not apply across the UK.”
To leave a comment please register – it takes less than a minute and is free of charge. You will also get our weekly email update The DM Report (to opt out contact email@example.com). If you are an existing user, please log in. If you have forgotten your log-in details please email firstname.lastname@example.org to get them reset!