If you are marketing / advertising your products or services in the UK, there are some important rules you need to know. For example, did you know that…

  1. Your advert must not mislead your customers by leaving out information that might make a difference to their decision to buy from you or use your services.
  2. You must have evidence to back up any claims you make about your product or service. If you can’t prove it, you probably shouldn’t say it.
  3. The price advertised must relate to the specific product shown, and needs to include all other costs, taxes and charges which aren’t optional.  Additional costs, such as delivery, also need to be made clear.
  4. If using a testimonial or endorsement, you must have evidence that it is genuine, and hold contact details for the person or organisation who gave it, along with their permission for it to be used in your marketing materials.
  5. You must not describe a product as “free” or “without charge” or similar if the customer has to pay you anything for that product other than an (uninflated) postage cost.
  6. If you are running a promotion or offer, you must include the end date for the offer, and all the other significant conditions up front.

See more 6 top tips to avoid your advertising being misleading

                Making sure your reference price is right


Who do the UK Advertising Rules apply to?

The UK Advertising Rules (also known as the ‘CAP Code’ and ‘BCAP Code’), apply to businesses based in the UK and everyone who markets or advertises their business in ‘UK media’, from a sole trader right through to a global conglomerate.

These rules are there to help ensure consumers are treated fairly, and that businesses benefit from a level playing field.


What counts as marketing?

The UK Advertising Rules (CAP Code) apply to claims made, or offers and promotions you run, on your own social media channels or company website, as well as in more traditional or paid-for advertising space – both online and offline.

Find out more


Who makes sure businesses stick to the rules and what happens if I don’t?

The UK Advertising Rules (B/CAP Code) are enforced by the Advertising Standards Authority, or ASA for short. We respond to complaints from members of the public, competitor businesses and also undertake proactive work to make sure businesses are sticking to the rules.

With our sister organisation, the Committees of Advertising Practice (or CAP), we offer advice and training to advertisers of all sizes to help them get their ads right first time.

We find that the vast majority of advertisers want to work within the rules, however, we do have sanctions at our disposal if an advertiser is unwilling to work with us to put things right.


Where can I get help to make sure I stick to the rules?

The information here is just a snippet of what you might need to know for your specific campaign, company, product or service. There is a wealth of other information available within our extensive searchable database of advice articles, or you can ask a question directly to the Copy Advice team who will be glad to help you. Also, you can keep up to date by signing up for Insight, our helpful newsletter full of tips.