The Advertising Standards Authority

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What is the Advertising Standards Authority? The ASA is the watchdog organization responsible for making sure all advertisements are ‘legal, decent; honest and truthful’. It has the authority to demand that an offending advertisement is changed or dropped altogether.
It can’t get you your money back, but if there has been an infringement of the code it will suggest to the advertisers that they do the gentlemanly thing and hand over the cash. Most firms fall into line when they are read the riot act by the ASA.
Write to the Secretary of the ASA giving details of your complaint and enclosing, if possible, a copy of the offending advertisement stating when and where it appeared.
Blatant infringements of the code are acted on immediately by the Secretary. But if he feels the firm concerned has a case, then a committee of ten – five of whom have nothing to do with the advertising world – consider whether there are grounds for action.
The ASA is particularly helpful when mail-order firms fail to come up with the goods (see ‘Mail Order’) and it also keeps an eye open for any fast dealing in leaflets, price lists and labels.
As a public-spirited, interfering busybody citizen, you are perfectly entitled to draw the ASA’s attention to any advertisement even if you haven’t had any dealings with the firm.
The ASA doesn’t however have any control over TV commercials, so please do not send its a pair of your husband’s underpants demanding to know why they don’t look as white as the underpants washed in Wundersuds on the telly.
Complaints about TV ads should be sent to the Head of Advertising Control at the Independent Broadcasting Authority, who apply the same stringent standards.
This poor man deserves all our sympathy since he has the unhappy job of having to view five thousand new commercials every year.
What about classified ads? Deals between private individuals are not protected by the law, so beware of the small-ad seller who offers you a parrot with a vocabulary of two thousand words.
WHAT WE SAY: – Complain- now while offence lasts.

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