Unfair Commercial Practices and Viral Marketing in the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (the Regulations), which entered into force on May, 2008, outlaws viral marketing. The Regulations introduce a general prohibition against unfair commercial practices and includes specific prohibitions against misleading and aggressive advertising practices.

The following questions have been addressed in this article:

What are some examples of prohibited activities under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations and how are these activities punishable?
Are “buzz marketing” and advertising via social networks proscribed under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations ?
What are “misleading actions” and “misleading omissions” under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations?
How are the Regulations enforced?
What defenses are available to a trader who is accused of being in breach of the Regulations?

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