Thank goodness for the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority). If we didn’t have them then the country would be full of misleading claims about products and services. However, there is an issue, adverts and websites can only be adjudicated once the ASA have received a complaint. This means that the misleading claims (lies) have to be made public before there is any action. Therefore most of the population aren’t aware of the fact that an advert might have been withdrawn. The damage will have been done. Perhaps adjuducations should be carried in a short segment at the end of the main TV news shows on ITV, BBC and Sky. This would cut some of the issues of publish and then retract, maybe making advertising even better than it is now.
If you are unsure of what sort of adverts have had adjudications then click here. This should take you to a page with the most recent rulings. Look carefully as this is a list of adverts and claims that have been ruled upon and not just those that are lies. Check the complaint to see what the issue was with the original advert.
The ASA also has a page of non-compliant online advertisers. The list is here. It will probably come as no surprise that a lot of these websites are for products or services that must be considered “woo“. If you can’t substantiate your claims then the chances are you are peddling bogus products or SCAMs.
I am proud to let you know that a complaint I sent to the ASA was acted on for print versions but the website of this company still (as of 7 Nov 2012) promotes amber necklaces for toddlers as a way of soothing teething pains. There is no good evidence that this works. The ASA page on this non-compliance is here. Avoid their products!