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Business Regulations: Advertising

Sometimes laws pertaining to business practices can be confusing. The trick to deciphering the regulations that may apply to your business advertising practices is to know where to look. Over the next couple of months, we’ll provide you with resources to help you understand which regulations apply to your business. This week we’re going to highlight those pertaining specifically to advertising. If you’re not running contests ads, you don’t need to wade through regulations pertaining only to contests (though if you think you may in future, it’s worth a read).

Many companies utilize email marketing campaigns to drive business to their website. The CAN-SPAM Act protects consumers from deceptive advertising via email. While it’s doubtful that honest businesses would seek to violate this Act, the fines are steep. Compliance is simple though, by ensuring that you’re communicating openly and honestly with your email recipients, and by giving them the chance to opt out at any time. You can review a full list of ways to comply with the CAN-SPAM Act here.

What about telemarketing? Many businesses use the telephone to reach potential customers and clients. Knowledge of regulations regarding the Do Not Call (DNC) listing may be common place, but there are additional expectations of fair telemarketing advertising as well, such as (but not inclusive of): transmission of caller ID information, debt relief services and “robocall.” You can learn more about telemarketing regulations by visiting this page.

Certain industries must follow additional regulations when advertising. Like all regulations pertaining to advertising, this is to ensure the protection of the consumer. Of course, consumer protection should interest any honest business—what customer would want to repeatedly purchase from or refer a business which engages in dishonest practices? Some of the industries that must follow additional regulations include:

  • Alcohol
  • Automobiles
  • Finance
  • Funerals
  • Jewelry
  • NPOs
  • Tobacco
Other regulations can apply depending on your intended audience. An example of one scenario is if your business advertises to children. Certain other regulations apply if your advertising touches on certain topics. The best way to protect not only your consumers and prospects but also your own business, is to understand the regulations that apply to your business activities.