Business Advertisement Disclosure Order 1977

This is a guide to the requirements of The Business Advertisements Disclosure Order 1977. This law exists since consumers get better rights when they purchase goods from Traders rather than from Private sellers. It may therefore be in the interests of a dishonest Trader to pretend that he or she is selling privately in order to avoid the costs or risks of openly selling as a business.

The Business Advertisement Disclosure Order 1977 requires all advertisements by people who seek to sell goods in the course of business to make the fact clear. This requirement applies whether the advertiser is acting on his own behalf or for some other person in the course of whose business goods are to be sold. Consumers should be able to tell whether an advertisement relates to a sale by a Trader or a Private seller. It is the responsibility of the Advertiser to comply with the order. It is an offence for which you may be prosecuted not to advertise the fact that you are a Trader.

Everyone who registers with the Readers Ads service is required to state in their My Account record whether they are a Trader or Private seller. Trade ads will then be flagged with this symbol: Trade. If you are unsure of your status, please read the guide below.

What is a Business Advertisement?
Any advertisement which offers goods for sale in the course of a business.

Do these requirements apply to me?
Yes, if you publish or arrange an advert either for your own business, on behalf of someone else, or as someone's agent.

Does this only apply to Newspaper adverts?
No. It applies to any form of advertising: newspapers, magazines, TV or radio, periodicals, leaflets, brochures, cards on notice boards in newsagents and supermarkets, the Internet, or on the item itself.

What must the adverts say?
It must clearly indicate that the goods are being sold in the course of a business.

What form must this indication take?
It may be direct or by implication, so that the average person is aware it is a Trade sale. This could be done, for example, by any of the following means:

  • Including a clear business name in the advert eg. "Smiths Car Sales"
  • Giving a clear indication that it is a business sale, eg. [Trade]
  • Giving an indication by means of the format or size of the advert or the place or manner of its publication, such as: Yellow Pages; A business advert section of a newspaper; In the shop selling the goods; in a Trade section of a web site.

Are all such adverts caught by the 1977 Order?
The following adverts are exempt from the requirements:

  • Sale by auction or tender.
  • Sale of flowers, fruit, vegetables, eggs, dead animals, fish or birds, gathered, produced or taken by the seller.

It is the Advertiser's responsibility to ensure that the requirements of this Order are complied with. Failure to do so could lead to prosecution by Trading Standards.


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