Data Laws ignored by marketers

A third of marketers are unaware of new marketing protection laws that include posing as consumers on blogs to promote their brands, which could land them in jail or with a £5,000 fine.

In May the UK introduced the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations and the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008 to protect both consumers and honest businesses from unfair and misleading commercial practices.

Over 60 per cent of marketers are ignoring the laws that ban 31 types of unfair commercial practices, such as fake blogs commonly known as 'flogs', which are created by marketing and public relations firms for the purpose of falsely representing themselves as a consumer to enhance the profile of a particular product or brand, according to experts from law firm Browne Jacobson.

The regulations also establish a general principle not to trade unfairly, use aggressive selling techniques or mislead consumers, helping to close loopholes that have previously been exploited.

Repeated complaints can result in a report to the Office of Fair Trading. In addition companies and individuals charged with an offence under the new consumer and business protection regulations could also face a fine up to £5,000 and imprisonment of up to two years.

Browne Jacobson head of marketing Fiona Carter (pictured) says: "Our research reveals that very few businesses have taken steps to better understand how the new legislation may affect their business activity and yet around half were concerned that they or their clients could fall foul of the new laws."

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