Advertising and the law
Advertising operates, like any other business, within a legal framework, in addition to which there exists a whole structure of voluntary restraints. Until the beginning of this century trading laws were based upon the principle caveat emptor (let the buyer beware). This meant it was the responsibility of the purchaser rather than the seller to ensure that the goods and services he was buying were worth the price being asked. Over the years two systems have evolved to protect consumers against advertising which is not completely legal, decent, honest and truthful: either advertisers exercise a degree of self-discipline and refrain from placing ads which are not acceptable (voluntary controls) or an advertiser who has failed to observe the laws on the matter will be called to account as soon as possible afterwards and charged accordingly (statutory controls).
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