Bloggers warned against misleading consumers

By Jo Gallacher

Lingerie bloggers and online retailers could land themselves in hot water if they don’t comply with consumer protection law by clearly identifying paid promotions, according to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

In an open letter, the CMA has advised online publishers and bloggers to make sure that if they are paid, financially or otherwise, to feature products in the content on their sites, then the paid promotions are clearly labelled as such.

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This is to protect consumers, and to ensure that they do not think they are getting independent information when a business has in fact paid to influence content.

The letter is a result of the CMA’s recently concluded investigation into the failure of three businesses to clearly identify when they had paid bloggers or online publications to feature particular products in blogs and articles.

Misleading readers or viewers falls foul of consumer protection law and could result in enforcement by either the CMA or Trading Standards Services, which could lead to civil and/or criminal action.

The CMA has produced a brief guide for businesses commissioning paid-for endorsements, summarising how to comply with consumer protection law.

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