Toothless ASA

Baroness Hayter

I recently complained to the ASA about a “Cotton Traders” ad for clothes by post which added in an “insurance” charge – albeit with an asterisk to a note below. This note showed that the insurance in fact only ensured that the stuff arrived in 7 days, and did not cover the goods themselves (and anyway it’s the company’s responsibility to ensure the stuff does arrived). Pretty well worthless – but even worse, it was in 5.2 point type-face, which I was unable to read, even with glasses.


The ASA – the Advertising Standards Authority – rejected my complaint, saying 5.2 point was quite large enough! This means they are quite happy that people will have paid for the absolutely unnecessary insurance (which, together with the postage, came to 35% of the cost of the article).

Again and again we hear that self-regulation works for consumers, i.e. allowing an industry to police itself, albeit with some independents appointed to is committees. How many more consumers get ripped off by such supposed systems? I often complain about such things to test the system. When I get such a poor response as this, I want to take it further, but need more examples. I’d therefore be interested in hearing whether other consumers have had a bad experience.

7 comments for “Toothless ASA

  1. MilesJSD
    16/02/2015 at 6:12 pm

    We get ‘bad’ experiences and ‘rips-off’; but mainly “shoddy” and insisdious little “personal human energy-time” wasters.
    That is why you don’t hear participative-democracy between elections;
    nor ‘no-lose’ problem solving when things are bewildering, not right, or ‘plain bad’:

    we have simply and exhaustedly run out of personal human-energies and timeframes.
    Websites are also rife with such time and energy wasters;
    and include some quite unnecessary “security” revolving-doors.
    Both governmental and ‘knowledge/educational’ sites are also highly “client-need-avoidant”, “trivia-derivative”, and “value-added” [profiteering-runaway and run-around] skilled
    at ripping off the public or the disadvantaged real-lifesupport seeker.
    And as a little sunday school girl answered the priest’s question “How will you keep yourself good ?” Answer: ” I will stay away from those places and people that cause me to sin”.
    [Thus I would recommend turning away from waste-mongering organisations, individuals, and websites,
    and pursuing one’s own genericly affordable and sustainworthy life guidances ,
    for one’s own individual holistic health and human-ness:
    from lists of such genuine life-guidances published by honest, up-to-date-and-going-ahead leaders, a goodly essential lists have been made copyable from “Key Foundations” in the not-for-profit ‘Towards a Sustainworthy Earth-Citizenship’ website . ]

  2. tizres
    17/02/2015 at 9:51 pm

    One of the more bizarre lies from banks was realised when I was asked where I bought petrol. Apparently, my spending is tracked and put up as a security question. Also, apparently, I only buy petrol from one provider.

    I can’t begin to know what goes through the brains behind this farce, and I’m running out of banks willing to process my money. I realise I am most fortunate in being married to someone whose sensibilities were neutered from an early age when he joined the Socialist Workers Party.

    • maude elwes
      25/02/2015 at 9:26 am

      @ Tizres:

      If I were you I would worry far more about the ‘Capitalist’ workers exploitation party, as the bankers and banks robbed our society in a way the Communists never did.

      In fact, if you do a little research you will see and hear the previous communist countries have thousands of people who wish they had remained socialists rather than wished they were inside the Capitalist regime they signed up to.

      • Lord Blagger
        25/02/2015 at 1:36 pm

        So Maude. Explain how you’re beloved socialist have made such a mess of the socialist welfare state?

        Last figures published by the ONS had the debt at 5,010 bn pounds. A billion is 1,000 million.

        It’s socialist, because the money was redistributed.

        it’s not capitalist, because there is no capital.

        It’s not neo liberal, because it pre dates neo liberalism.

        It’s bankrupt, and not a bank or banker involved.

        It’s awful value.

        Mr Median’s NI contributions come to 2225.28 + 2559.07 = 4784.35 a year

        Over 47 years that is 224864.45 in value paid in

        He gets back £113.10 a week for an average of 18 years.

        That’s 105861.6 in value back.

        Where’s the morality of ripping him (or her) off?

    • Lord Blagger
      25/02/2015 at 1:37 pm

      It’s the banks money when its paid to the petrol company. That’s the legal set up. They then take the money from you.

      If the petrol company is a fraudster, then the bank is liable not you.

  3. Baroness Deech
    Baroness Deech
    26/02/2015 at 2:41 pm

    My own experience with the ASA – 17 months since I first referred an ad to them. Cpmplaint rejected; appeal to the Independent Reviewer; complaint referred back (that is an abbreviated account). Still waiting. Apparently the ASA does not regard itself as bound to follow due process like other bodies, (that is, the requirement to hear both sides & treat them equally); is content with impressionistic descriptions rather than facts; and employs “investigators” patently devoid of the necessary (in my case) expertise. I plan to go on the warpath.

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