The best weapon that YOU can use against rogue advertisers is the CREDIT CARD. Most credit card companies offer stacks of protection, particularly when you spend 100 (on your card) or more in one transaction. If the supplier becomes bankrupt or fails to provide the goods or services within a stipulated or reasonable time, a letter to your credit card company requesting a refund will often work..

Unlike organisations such as the Advertising Standards Authority, who thrive on dealing with complaints AFTER the horse has bolted and who have no power to guarantee you a refund, the credit card companies carry a great deal of risk on your behalf. They are the consumer’s very best friend.

It stands to reason that the credit card companies are bound to take reasonable steps to ensure the trader is bona fide before granting a credit card merchant facility. There’s your first protection but still not a guarantee of fair play. If the trader lets you down, contact him first (in writing) and try to resolve the problem. Then contact the credit card company. The next port of call would be Trading Standards (see page 1).

An effective weapon against rogue advertisers is to cease their advertising. Without an effective advertising campaign, many businesses are stumped. A publisher will normally refuse to carry advertising if Trading Standards or The Office of Fair Trading support your view that a particular advertising campaign is misleading. A further effective weapon is the withdrawal of a credit card merchant facility. Credit card companies will quickly disassociate themselves from rogue traders, for obvious financial reasons.

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