With little warning after kicking off consultations on the issues in March 2012, the writers of the ASA-enforced Codes for UK online, print and broadcast advertising have announced immediate changes to the rules for (1) price comparisons and (2) quoting VAT–exclusive prices. First, the prices of non-equivalent products can now be compared, provided the basis of the comparison is clear. Second, it will be permissible to quote VAT-exclusive prices in ads seen or heard by non-business consumers, provided they are clearly addressed to customers who pay no VAT or can recover it and the applicable VAT rate or amount is prominently stated.
“Whilst the changes are pragmatic and advertiser friendly, after this length of time since the consultation, it is odd to bring them straight into force” says Osborne Clarke’s Stephen Groom “because if they had been given some notice, advertisers may have approached recently launched campaigns quite differently.”
The CAP Regulatory Statement is here.