Our Compliance team has launched a sector-compliance project in the computing sector. Working together with eBay, we are communicating and enforcing an ASA ruling which prohibits advertisers from combining the speeds of two or more individual PC processors to give an overall speed. This will lead to more accurate advertising of such products and will ensure that ads of this type are not misleading to the consumer, allowing them to make more informed decisions. It also aims to ensure a level playing field for those operating within the sector.

Advertisers should ensure their ads do not combine the speeds of two or more individual processors to give an overall speed.

The ASA previously investigated the issue and noted that the two processors within the computer worked independently of one another and although they enable the computer to multi-task more efficiently, the overall speed of the product was not calculated on the accumulation of those two processors’ individual speeds. At that stage, it appeared to be an isolated incident. Recently, however, through our own proactive monitoring and based on incoming complaints we’ve seen the issue resurface which is what has prompted this action.

For example, a dual core PC with two 3.00GHz processors may not be advertised as 6.00GHz, as this speed is not actually achievable in practice. Essentially, two plus two does not equal four in this context.

Affected advertisers are expected to take immediate action to ensure their listings, websites and other ads are compliant. Our Compliance team will closely monitor listings in this sector from 21 March with a view to taking enforcement action against non-compliant advertisers from this date.

If you received the letter and are unsure about the requirements, please contact our Compliance team. Or if you want more general help on sticking to the rules, please speak to our Copy Advice team.

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