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Types Of Advertisement

Types Of Advertisement
Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission chief executive officer Joel Abraham.
February 12
15:45 2018

The Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission (FCCC) being an independent Fijian statutory authority has the role to enforce the FCCC Act 2010 which promotes competition, fair trading, regulating prices in markets where competition is lessened or limited and regulating monopolistic market situations including national infrastructure for the benefit of all Fijians.

Section 75 of FCCC Act 2010 particularly allows FCCC to establish a basic legal standard for advertising and promotional conducts. Section 75 of FCCC Act 2010 states:

“A person shall not, in trade or commerce engage in conduct that is misleading or deceptive or is likely to mislead or deceive.”

While placing any advertisements, the person or corporate body is expected to know that the readers will include both the shrewd and the ingenuous, the educated and uneducated, the experienced and the inexperienced, in commercial transactions.

The person or body corporate is not entitled to assume that the reader will be able to supply for himself or herself omitted facts or to resolve ambiguities.

An advertisement may be misleading even though it fails to deceive more wary readers.

Businesses should be mindful they are responsible for any representations they make.

Advertisements should not contain a false or misleading statement of fact.

All the aspects of a promotional campaign and final advertisement should be coordinated properly by the advertiser to prevent any inconsistency in claims.

 

The FCCC Act 2010 prohibits false or misleading representations concerning:

–              “particular standard, quality, grade, composition, style, model or particular history or previous use which they do not have”;

–              “particular standard, quality or grade they do not have”;

–              “the goods are new or unused, if they are not or are reconditioned or reclaimed”;

–              “that a particular person has agreed to acquire goods or services when that other person has not”;

–              “that goods or services have sponsorship, approval, performance characteristics, accessories, uses or benefits when they do not have”;

–              “representation that the person has a sponsorship, approval, or affiliation when that person does not have”;

–              “that a price advantage of goods or services exit when it does not”;

–              “make a representation concerning the availability of facilities for the repair of goods or spare parts for goods when they are not”;

–              “the place of origin of goods”;
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–              “the need for any goods or services”;

–              “the existence, exclusion or effect of any condition, warranty, guarantee, right or remedy when a person/corporation does not have”.

If the advertisers are making any of the above-mentioned representations, the advertiser must be able to substantiate its claims. Failing to do so, may warrant investigation by FCCC.

The technical specifications in the advertisement should be carefully checked and explained in simple terms as the factual details are required on which consumers are likely to rely.

 

The following advertisements may amount to breaches under FCCC Act 2010:

–              Advertisements which only states “Sale Price” and “Retail Price” of advertised goods or services.

If the advertisements only states ‘Save $1.50’ and the advertisement has only ‘Retail Price’ then such advertisements imply that the consumer would save $1.50 on retail price.

However, business display ‘Normal Price’ in stores and the saving of $1.50 is applied on normal price not retail price.

Such advertisements that fails to clearly state the ‘Normal Price’, ‘Sale Price’, and ‘Retail Price’ of advertised goods or services are misleading.;

 

–              Two-price advertising

It is common for businesses to compare a sale price of product or service, by using words

“Was” and “Now”, thereby suggesting a bargain or big savings. This is legal as long as the “Was” and “Now” price quoted by advertiser for a particular product or service is not fictitious.

The business must be able to substantiate with evidences that the product or service “Was” sold at a particular price for a reasonable period beforehand.

 

–              Bait advertising is prohibited.

A business must not advertise products or services at a discounted price when the goods or services are not available in reasonable quantities available for a reasonable time during the course of promotion.

For example, if a trader has advertised “No 13 Chicken for Special” and the promotion is for a week, however, within first two days, No 13 Chicken has shortage in supply, then the consumer would be inclined to purchase other size of chicken. Such conduct is prohibited under FCCC Act 2010.

 

–              Superlative and Comparative Taglines.

Superlative and comparative taglines that are an exaggeration or makes representation and are likely to mislead or deceive consumers are of concern to FCCC.

If they are used by businesses to suggest some factual characteristic of goods or services, they may in particular circumstances lead to deception where the claim is not capable of being substantiated by the businesses.

Indiscriminate use of such expressions or taglines should be avoided.

Few examples of such Superlative and Comparative Taglines and expressions are “The Best Value in Fiji”, “Best Plans”, “Premium Quality Goods/Services”, “No one good”, “Quality Products.”

 

Next week read more on the types of advertisements which may be misleading or deceptive in nature.

Feedback:  maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj

 

 

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