UK: ASA Adjudications Snapshot - November 2009

Last Updated: 17 December 2009
Article by Susan Barty and Susie Carr

This article provides a selection of the most interesting ASA adjudications from November and a summary of the key issues considered in the adjudications.

This month, the ASA particularly considered health and beauty claims (and published its compliance review of the same), the BERR pricing guidelines and decided not to uphold complaints that particular Tango advertisements were offensive and unsuitable for public display.

To view the article in full, please see below:



Full Article

This article provides a selection of the most interesting ASA adjudications from November and a summary of the key issues considered in the adjudications.

This month, the ASA particularly considered health and beauty claims (and published its compliance review of the same), the BERR pricing guidelines and decided not to uphold complaints that particular Tango advertisements were offensive and unsuitable for public display.

HEALTH AND BEAUTY

1. Jennysweightlosssuccess.com, 4 November 2009 (strong weight loss claims and irresponsibility)

2. Larson Health Care Ltd t/a Bury Family Chiropractic, 18 November 2009 (use of 'Dr' deemed misleading in absence of general medical qualification)

3. Advanced Hair Studio, 25 November 2009 (distinction between FDA approval and clearance)

ASA conducts a health check of health and beauty ads, 19 November 2009 (95.1% industry compliance and common breaches identified)

FOOD AND DRINK

4. Britvic Soft Drinks Ltd, 11 November 2009 (claims considered not to be offensive due to humour)

5. Tetley GB Ltd, 25 November 2009 (implied health claims)

GREEN CLAIMS

6. East Hampshire District Council, 4 November 2009 and Harvey Softeners, 4 November 2009 (differentiation between advertising and editorial content)

7. GDC Group Ltd t/a Dimplex, 18 November 2009 ("enviro-sensitive claim")

OTHER

8. Curzon Artificial Eye Ltd t/a Artificial Eye Film Company Ltd, 4 November 2009 (careful targeting of potentially offensive advertising messages)

9. Homebase Ltd, 25 November 2009 (BERR Pricing guidelines and CPRs)

HEALTH AND BEAUTY

1. Jennysweightlosssuccess.com, 4 November 2009

An internet ad showed a 'before and after' photograph of a woman who had lost a significant amount of weight. The ad stated, "'1 Rule to a Flat Stomach: Obey'. I cut down 4lbs of stomach fat per week by obeying this one old rule. Click here to read my story".

Complaint/decision

The complainant challenged whether the ad was misleading on the basis that it implied the subject of the photographs, who she understood was known from TV appearances, had lost weight using the advertiser's method.

The ASA also challenged whether:

  1. weight loss of 4lbs a week was compatible with good medical and nutritional practice; and
  2. the reference to weight loss from a specific part of the body was a breach of the Code.

Jennysweightlosssuccess.com failed to respond to the ASA's enquiries and, unsurprisingly, the ASA upheld all of the complaints made.

However, the ASA provided some useful guidance on these types of claims. The Code states that, for those who are normally overweight, a rate of weight loss greater than 2 lbs per week is unlikely to be compatible with good medical and nutritional practice. The ASA acknowledged that the Code also states that for those who are obese, a rate of weight loss greater than 2lbs per week in the early stages of dieting may, in some circumstances, be compatible with good medical and nutritional practice. However, in this case, the ASA had seen no evidence to suggest that the advertiser's method was suitable for or only available to the obese.

The ASA are likely to take a tough stance in relation to any dieting claims that promote irresponsible weight loss. The ASA also highlighted that the Code explicitly prohibited marketers from referring to weight loss from specific parts of the body and therefore concluded that this ad was in breach on this point.

2. Larson Health Care Ltd t/a Bury Family Chiropractic, 18 November 2009

A regional press ad for a chiropractic clinic featured a picture of a man identified as "Dr Mark Larsen, principle [sic] chiropractor at Bury Chiropractic". The ad described the treatments offered by chiropractors at the clinic and featured a quotation from Dr Larsen that stated, "facilitating the correct working of the nervous system can not only ease back problems but can also help improve your general health. People with conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, recurrent colds, asthma or colic in infants often find improvement".

Complaint/decision

A complainant challenged whether the claim that chiropractic treatments could improve the conditions mentioned in the ad were misleading and could be substantiated. The ASA also challenged whether the use of the term "Dr" misleadingly implied that Dr Larsen held a general medical qualification.

Bury Family Chiropractic submitted that the ad did not claim to treat conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, colds and asthma but merely suggested that people who received chiropractic treatment for other conditions could also shown improvements in these conditions. It further argued that it was the role of a chiropractor to offer dietary and lifestyle advice to patients alongside their chiropractic treatments and also to offer advice and counselling on how to manage certain conditions, such as asthma.

However, the ASA considered that consumers were likely to interpret the claim, "Facilitating the correct working of the nervous system can not only ease back problems but can also help improve your general health. People with conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, recurrent colds, asthma or colic in infants often find improvement" to mean that chiropractic manipulation could improve the named conditions.

Whilst Bury Family Chiropractic had provided some references to medical articles and papers, the ASA noted that these were not relevant to the specific implied claims being made or sufficiently robust to substantiate these claims. The ASA therefore concluded that the ad was misleading on this point.

Secondly, the ASA considered that in referring to, "Dr Larsen, principle [sic] chiropractor" most consumers would be likely to understand from this claim, and the fact that the title "Dr" was repeated throughout the ad, that Dr Larsen held a general medical qualification, as well as practising as a chiropractor. The ASA understood that Dr Larsen did not hold a general medical qualification we and so it concluded that the use of the term 'Dr' was likely to mislead in this context. This adjudication reminds advertisers of the need to have robust, scientific substantiation when making high-performance health claims.

Although not mentioned in this particular adjudication, advertisers should also always be cautious when referring to doctors with general medical qualifications in any advertisements for health and beauty products or treatments. It is a breach of BCAP Code Rule 8.1.2 for a doctor to give the impression or giving advice or recommendations in relation to such products.

3. Advanced Hair Studio, 25 November 2009

A national press ad for Advanced Hair Studio (AHS), stated "'HAIR WORRIES ARE OUT!' Says cricket legend, Shane Warne, "'I stopped worrying about my hair when I heeded the Warne-ing signs and saw Advanced Hair Studio. The Advanced Hair and Scalp Fitness Program (AHS-FP) includes Laser Therapy technology recently approved by the FDA". A series of four photographs showed the scalp of the cricketer Graham Gooch before and after treatment. Accompanying text stated, "Graham Gooch UK Cricket Legend received the STRAND-BY-STRAND replacement procedure".

Complaint/decision

The complainant challenged, amongst other things, whether the claim "approved by the FDA" could mislead readers as to the efficacy of the product, because he understood that the laser in question had received FDA "clearance", not FDA approval, which involved less stringent testing. The ASA originally published a not upheld adjudication in relation to this complaint in October 2009 but has now significantly changed its verdict, making this complaint upheld.

The ASA noted that there were three types of FDA classification for medical devices (Class I, Class II and Class III) and that the type of FDA classification determined the level of regulatory control necessary to assure the safety and effectiveness of a medical device in the US. The classification also identified the type of marketing application process to be completed by the manufacturer. Class I and Class II devices required the manufacturer to demonstrate to the FDA's satisfaction that the device they were seeking to market was substantially equivalent, and was therefore as safe and as effective, to a device already on the market. That process was known as Premarket Notification or 510(k). For Class III devices, where the device contained new materials or differed in design from products already on the market, the manufacturer had to submit a Premarket Approval (PMA). The ASA understood that the PMA was a more stringent type of device marketing application because it required the manufacturer to submit clinical performance data. The ASA acknowledged the complainant's view that the efficacy of the laser treatment was questionable because the 510(k) process did not require the submission of clinical data, as required under the PMA process.

The ASA also noted that the HairMax LaserComb had been cleared by the less rigorous of the two processes. In this context, the ASA agreed with the complainant that FDA "approval" and "clearance" were likely to be understood by readers to have different meanings and it therefore considered the claim "approved by the FDA" was misleading. The ASA further considered that the claim was likely to be understood to mean that the "Laser Therapy" technology referred to in the ad had been approved for use by the FDA and that its effectiveness had been the subject of rigorous FDA appraisal, which the ASA understood not to be the case.

This adjudication serves as a warning to advertisers in the health and beauty industry to be cautious when referring to the "approval" of any medical devices as this may be deemed to create a misleading impression of a product's efficacy and safety testing.

ASA conducts a health check of health and beauty ads, 19 November 2009

The ASA published the results of its 'Health and Beauty Products and Therapies Advertisements Survey 2009' this month. The survey reveals a 95.1% compliance rate with the Advertising Codes.

The ASA reported that health and beauty is the fifth most complained-about sector. However, these results are encouraging as they show an improvement in compliance, with the last survey conducted in 2006 indicating that compliance rates were at 90.5%. In total, 451 ads across media were assessed including, for the first time, online media.

The most common Code breaches identified in the survey were:

  • a lack of robust scientific evidence to back up claims;
  • exaggerated claims about the efficacy of products or treatments;
  • the advertising of prescription only medicines, which is illegal; and
  • failing to hold a marketing authorisation and making misleading, irresponsible and unauthorised medicinal claims.

The full ASA survey can also be downloaded by clicking here (/asasurvey).

FOOD AND DRINK

4. Britvic Soft Drinks Ltd, 11 November 2009

Three posters for Tango featured the following unconventional headlines:

  1. "TOO MUCH TANGO Made me suck a Bull's UDDER";
  2. "Too much TANGO MAKES YOUR GUFFS 'Smell Like Oranges'. Seriously, I just did one"
  3. "TOO MUCH TANGO MADE ME SHAVE MY NAN. INNIT"

Complaint/decision

82 complainants thought the ad campaign was offensive, irresponsible and unsuitable for public display. In particular, many thought that the first ad suggested oral sex with a bull and that the word "guffs" in the second ad was inappropriate. One complainant thought that the third ad suggested the shaving of vaginal hair.

Britvic argued that Tango was a soft drink brand known for its cheeky and unconventional sense of humour, which particularly appealed to their core target audience of 17-25 year old males. Britvic further submitted that the rationale for the ad's approach was to convey that Tango delivered an orangey taste hit which had a great impact but could cause side effects. The aim was to make the side effects humorous by describing them in a nonsensical way. Whilst Britvic conceded that the ads may not necessarily be to everyone's taste, they had been intended entertain their target audience without causing serious or widespread offence.

The ASA acknowledged Britvic's arguments and concluded that it would not uphold any of the complaints.

The ASA first considered the reference to sucking "a Bull's UDDER". The ASA considered that most viewers of the poster, including children, would be aware that bulls did not have udders. It therefore considered that some people might therefore interpret the statement in a sexual way. However, the ASA also noted that very young children and innocent viewers would not. The ASA concluded that the ad presented an outlandish and nonsensical scenario as opposed to an explicit reference to bestiality, and that any potential perversity was outweighed by the absurdity of the concept. The ASA also considered that the provocative humour of the ad was likely to appeal to some viewers. Whilst the poster was likely to be seen as distasteful to some viewers, the ASA concluded that it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence or be seen as irresponsible, and that it was not unsuitable for public display.

The ASA considered that the phrase "makes your guffs smell like oranges" would be commonly interpreted as a reference to breaking wind and was therefore likely to be seen as vulgar by some, but as humorous by others. The ASA considered this unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence or be seen as irresponsible and, therefore, concluded that it was not unsuitable for public display.

Finally, the ASA noted that the claim that, "TOO MUCH TANGO MADE ME SHAVE MY NAN" was likely to be interpreted as suggesting that a side effect of drinking Tango was the urge to shave an elderly relative. The ASA considered that this notion was clearly ridiculous and that few viewers would share the complainant's interpretation in relation to shaving vaginal hair.

For this reason, the ASA concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence or be seen as irresponsible.

This adjudication demonstrates that, even where there have been a significant number of complaints, the use of outlandish humour may reduce the likelihood of any advertising messages being regarded as likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

5. Tetley GB Ltd, 25 November 2009

A TV ad for green tea showed a woman about to leave the house for a jog but giving up on the idea on seeing that it was raining. The woman was then shown making a cup of tea with a voice-over stating, "For an easy way to help look after yourself pick up Tetley Green Tea. It's full of antioxidants". On-screen text stated, "As part of a healthy diet and lifestyle".

Complaint/decision

Four viewers challenged whether the ad was misleading because it implied that Tetley Green Tea had the same or similar health benefits as exercise. The ASA rejected this challenge. The ASA noted Tetley's submission that the ad did not compare drinking tea with going for a run and was merely intended to promote drinking Tetley Green Tea as part of a healthy lifestyle. However, the ASA disagreed with Tetley's view that the woman depicted in the ad was clearly following a healthy lifestyle, because she appeared to be glad of an excuse not to go for a run. However, the ASA concluded overall that viewers were unlikely to be misled into thinking that drinking Tetley Green Tea would have the same or similar benefits as exercise. Rather, they were likely to infer that it was a way of achieving some health benefits, in particular because it contained anti-oxidants.

Nevertheless, the ASA upheld its own challenge as to whether the ad misleadingly implied that the tea had greater health benefits than it did. Whilst the ad did not go as far as suggesting that drinking tea could have the same or similar health benefits as exercise, it did imply that the tea had general health benefits beyond hydration, in particular because it contained anti-oxidants. This adjudication replaces one originally published on 3 June 2009 see the report in our June 2009 ASA Adjudications Snapshot Law-Now (www.law-now.com/law-now/2009/asasnapjul09.htm). In June, the ASA had upheld the complaint because they had "not seen any evidence to demonstrate that green tea, or the antioxidants in it, had general health benefits".

Whilst the decision to uphold this complaint remains, the ASA has now also provided useful guidance in relation to the level of substantiation required to support general implied health claims. In particular, the ASA noted that all of the studies provided by Tetley had been limited to a specific age group and related only to specific medical conditions, some on people with pre-existing health conditions. Tetley had argued that all of the studies, when taken as a whole, supported the general health claims made in the ad and the benefits of anti-oxidants. However, the ASA considered that the studies were not directly relevant to the implied claim that the tea could have general health benefits for the average consumer. For this reason, the ASA concluded that the ad was misleading on this point.

This decision reminds any food and drink advertisers making implied health claims to ensure that they hold sufficiently robust substantiation for such claims. In this instance, the ASA stated that they would have expected to have seen randomised placebo-controlled trials on people to show general benefits to the average viewer rather than to specific groups.

GREEN CLAIMS

6. East Hampshire District Council, 4 November 2009

A four-page wraparound ad feature by East Hampshire District Council resembled the front page of a newspaper and was headlined, "Borden to become an eco-town". The ad explained the benefits that "eco-town" status would bring to the area. In particular, a section headlined, "Why should I care about Eco-town status?" stated, "....The announcement means that the Government will invest in the town and improve facilities and infrastructure. Your energy bills will be cheaper because the new houses which are built will be more energy efficient and existing houses can have improvements made to them too. Because of the Eco-town status there will be grants available to improve energy efficiency".

Complaint/decision

Borden Area Action Group challenged, amongst other things, whether the ad made sufficiently clear that it was advertising material.

The ASA noted the Council's view that the publications masthead and normal front page were visible to readers as they opened the newspaper. Nevertheless, the ASA noted that the ad feature itself also carried the same newspaper masthead. The ASA considered that, in the absence of labelling such as "ad feature" or "advertorial", there was nothing to distinguish the ad feature from the editorial content of the paper. The ASA therefore concluded that readers could easily have confused the ad feature for editorial content. Indeed, the ASA noted that two readers had written to the publication to query whether the article was Council produced material or editorial content.

This adjudication demonstrates the importance of using clear labelling to ensure that advertorials and editorial content can clearly be distinguished and readers are not misled.

There have been a number of other adjudications on this issue this month, with Harvey Softeners Ltd also having been found to be failing to make clear that their ads were marketing communications (4 November 2009). In this case, an ad was headlined "WATER INFORMATION" and appeared to resemble a leaflet originating from a water company or Government body rather than advertising material.

The ASA will apply the Code strictly in any instances where the distinction been advertising and advertorial has become blurred. These adjudications highlight the importance of using clear labelling and giving careful consideration to the design and presentation of advertisements to ensure that they do not give a misleading impression.

7. GDC Group Ltd t/a Dimplex, 18 November 2009

A brochure for domestic heaters stated "Dimplex offers more....Oil-free radiators offer rapid warm-up so are highly energy efficient...." Another section of the brochure featured specific information in relation to Dimplex's oil-free radiators. The text stated, "more enviro-sensitive Eco Colum radiator. The new Dimplex range of oil-free column radiators with its rapid warm-up, is approximately 30% more effective at heating a room than its nearest equivalent oil-filled competitor."

Complaint/decision

A complainant challenged whether:

  1. the claim "enviro-sensitive" misleadingly exaggerated the environmental benefits of the radiator compared to other types; and
  2. the claim "highly energy efficient" was misleading and could be substantiated, because she believed that oil-filled heaters were more energy efficient as they maintained their temperature.

In response to the first complaint, Dimplex submitted that the claim "enviro-sensitive" had been taken out of context because the heading clearly stated "more enviro-sensitive" and the claim was a clear comparison between their oil-free heater and competitors' oil filled devices. Dimplex maintained that, because their model was oil-free, their device warmed up faster and distributed heat more effectively than traditional oil filled columns, therefore using less energy to reach the desired temperature.

The ASA acknowledged that most readers would be likely to understand the claim in the context of a comparison between Dimplex's oil-free heater and more conventional oil filled models. The ASA also noted that the ad specifically referred to the "nearest equivalent oil-filled competitor" when comparing the efficiency of the two types of product. The ASA also noted that Dimplex highlighted the comparatively lower impact of recycling an oil-free product at the end of its life and that test data provided showed that its energy use was significantly more efficient. For these reasons, the ASA concluded that that Dimplex had presented reasonable grounds upon which to base its environmental comparisons and so the ad was considered unlikely to mislead.

The ASA noted the complainant's assertion that the heat retentive properties of oil meant that any measure of efficiency should take into account the fact that an oil-free device would inevitably cool faster and therefore require more energy to maintain its temperature. However, despite this consideration, the ASA considered that the claim "highly energy efficient" appeared in a sufficiently separate position in the brochure from the claims in the section where the comparison was made. For this reason, the ASA considered that the brochure did not actually state or imply a specific comparison between the energy efficiency of the two types of device. The ASA therefore concluded that readers were more likely to understand the claim to simply mean that oil-free radiators were energy efficient and it did not uphold this complaint.

This adjudication demonstrates that comparative environmental claims such as "more enviro-senstive" are permissible in cases where there are reasonable grounds upon which to base the claim, provided that the scope of the comparison is clearly defined.

OTHER

8. Curzon Artificial Eye Ltd t/a Artificial Eye Film Company Ltd, 4 November

A national press ad for the film, "Antichrist", which appeared in The Times, The Guardian and The Independent showed a naked man and woman having sex. They appeared to be lying at the base of a tree, from which hands protruded. Accompanying text stated, "WHEN NATURE TURNS EVIL, TRUE TERROR AWAITS....18 CONTAINS STRONG REAL SEX, BLOODY VIOLENCE AND SELF-MUTILATION".

Complaint/Decision

Seven complainants thought the depiction of a naked couple having sex was offensive and inappropriate for publication in a newspaper where it might be seen by children. Some of the complainants also felt the imagery was pornographic.
However, these complaints were not upheld. The ASA considered the ad, which had a dark tone, was unlikely to cause sexual excitement and was therefore not pornographic. The ASA were also of the view that The Times, The Guardian and The Independent were read mostly by adults. Although the possibility of children seeing the material could not be ruled out, the ASA concluded that this would be unlikely.

Additionally, the ASA noted that the imagery was not particularly explicit and the dream-like context, introduced by the hands protruding from the tree had the effect of making the naked couple seem removed from reality. The ASA noted that the film itself contained graphic references to sex and readers would understand that the image of the naked couple in the ad was relevant to the advertised product. The ASA therefore concluded that the ad did not go too far in its depiction of the film's content, and was unlikely to be seen as irresponsible or cause widespread or serious offence to the newspapers' readers.

This adjudication demonstrates that the use of dream-like imagery can sometimes justify the inclusion of advertising content that would otherwise be deemed inappropriate or offensive as well as the importance of careful targeting. This reflects a similar approach to that adopted in the ASA's decision in October in relation to SSL International plc's advertising for a range of Durex products - see the decision in our previous ASA Adjudications Snapshot Law-Now (www.law-now.com/law-now/2009/asanov09.htm). In both decisions, the ASA has seemed to take a more lenient approach to controversial advertising messages where the advertising campaign is carefully targeted at an adult audience and where young children would be unlikely to see the material or understand its meaning.

9. Homebase Ltd, 25 November 2009

Homebase made various price reduction claims in a brochure and TV ad.

The front page of the brochure was headed, "Outdoor living - Summer 09" and this was accompanied by headline pricing claims, such as "1/2 price off selected Garden Furniture sets" and "Up to 25% off selected BBQs". There were further pricing claims throughout the brochure alongside photographs of some of the reduced items. The prices of the discounted items were stated as, for instance, "was £249.99* now £149.99". The asterisk was linked to footnote text which stated, "*Higher price charged in 21 stores from 27th February - 26th March 2009". These claims were further qualified by an "IMPORTANT INFORMATION" section at the back of the brochure, which included the condition that, "all products are subject to availability...".

The TV ad included a voiceover which stated, "we've got everything that you need to grow your own this summer... There's also half price off selected garden furniture sets and up to 20% off all lawnmowers..."

Complaint/decision

B&Q challenged whether the price saving claims in the brochure and the TV ad were misleading and could be substantiated. They challenged whether:

  1. the full prices shown in the brochure and TV ad had been charged in a limited number of stores only and had therefore not been available to most of Homebases' potential customers; and
  2. the savings claims in the brochure and the TV ad were misleading because they did not state a closing date for the offer.

Homebase submitted that they had discussed the requirements of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (CPRs) with their home trading standards authority. They also highlighted that they had sought to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Pricing Practices Guide issued by the Department for Business Enterprise & Regulatory Reform (BERR). They said the BERR Pricing Practices Guide did not provide a definitive position on whether a claim was misleading and that they believed the only way to do that was through a legal challenge in the courts.

Notably, the ASA spoke to Homebases' home trading standards authority in relation to the first complaint. The ASA acknowledged that there was no definitive position regarding the number of branches at which a retailer should have sold products at a higher price before they could make savings claims for lower prices across their branches. The ASA considered, however, that the products needed to have been available to most customers at the higher price for the savings claims to be valid. The ASA noted that the products had been displayed in a limited number of stores. However, it also considered that they had also been displayed on Homebases' website at the higher price, with the result that almost all Homebase branches had sold one or more of them. The ASA considered that the sales information showed that the products had been sufficiently widely available to most customers at the higher prices and therefore the savings claims were unlikely to mislead consumers.

Whilst there is no definitive position in relation to the point, this adjudication demonstrates that the ASA are likely to permit savings claims where the higher prices have been available to most customers including through internet sales.

The ASA also decided not to uphold the second complaint in relation to Homebase's omission of a closing date. The ASA noted that Homebase considered the lower prices were promotional and referred to the CAP Code, which did not require an offer targeted at adults to state a closing date as long as it was, and was stated to be, "subject to availability". The ASA noted that the section headed "IMPORTANT INFORMATION" at the back of the brochure stated that all products were subject to availability, that the brochure was headed "Outdoor living - Summer 09" and that the products featured were seasonal products. The ASA therefore considered that there was likely to be an expectation on the part of readers that the offers would be limited to the summer season. The ASA also concluded that the text of the TV ad made it clear that the offers related to the summer season only and considered that this was unlikely to mislead readers.

Homebase also considered the lower prices on the TV ad to be promotional. The ASA noted that the CAP (Broadcast) TV Code required advertisers to state any reasonable grounds for believing they might not be able to supply the advertised or equivalent products at the advertised price, within a reasonable period and in reasonable quantities. Additionally, the ASA noted that the ad referred to "everything you need to grow your own this summer" and that the products that were featured or referred to, which included plants, garden furniture and lawnmowers, were seasonal products.

Therefore, as with the brochure, the ASA considered that viewers were likely to expect that the offers related to the summer season only. Further, the ASA noted that Homebase had no reason for believing that they could not continue to offer the products at the lower prices for the duration of the summer season and that we were aware of no evidence to suggest that they had been unable to do so. The ASA therefore concluded that the ad was not in breach.

This is an interesting adjudication on price reduction claims and the impact of the CPRs. However, whilst the ASA's decision provides some degree of clarification on this issue, it was significant in this instance that Homebase had discussed the requirements of the CPRs with their home trading standards authority.

This article was written for Law-Now, CMS Cameron McKenna's free online information service. To register for Law-Now, please go to www.law-now.com/law-now/mondaq

Law-Now information is for general purposes and guidance only. The information and opinions expressed in all Law-Now articles are not necessarily comprehensive and do not purport to give professional or legal advice. All Law-Now information relates to circumstances prevailing at the date of its original publication and may not have been updated to reflect subsequent developments.

The original publication date for this article was 16/12/2009.

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Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.