- On 11 April 2017, I saw an unclear and misleading ad for the “Bio-Mag Therapy Bracelet” in the Daily Mirror newspaper, p.35. Here’s a scanned copy of the ad: Daily Mirror 11 April 2017 p.35. The advertiser is UK Direct Shop Ltd, which specifies a UK address.
- The ad is unclear and misleading because there’s no UK-registered company with that name, according to the Companies House register.
- When I rang the phone number in the ad, no one could explain why UK Direct Shop Ltd wasn’t on the Companies House register, either. Further, everyone I spoke to referred to “UK Direct Shop” only, without the “Ltd” (Limited) suffix.
- The ad refers to a website, where the company is identified as UK Direct Shop Services Ltd (screen shot in Figure 1). This company is on the Companies House register – registered company number: 09658267.
- I complained about the ad to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). In an email the advertising regulator dismissed my complaint: “Under the advertising codes, there is no requirement of an advertiser to state their full company name in their own advertising – they only need to ensure that they don’t mislead consumers by omitting their identity. As both you and I have been able to easily locate them on Companies House from the details in the ad [the website], we don’t propose further action on this occasion.”
- I told the ASA I was baffled by its reasoning. An inaccurate company name is misleading, too, by definition.
- I had thought a consumer could reasonably expect a company to get its own name right in an ad. It seems not.