Sunday, 24 April 2016

Complaint To ASA over LBC Advert.

Your complaint: Legal Taxis Ltd


Thank you for contacting the Advertising Standards Authority. I’m sorry to learn this matter caused you concern.


I should say that our role as an organisation is to assess the content of ads and consider whether they are likely to breach the UK Codes of Advertising on the basis suggested.  We may consider there is likely to be a breach of Code if, for example, we deem the ad likely to materially mislead the majority of consumers, or cause serious or widespread offence or harm. Our main sanction, as non-statutory regulator of advertising in the UK, lies in ensuring that material deemed to breach the advertising Codes is either removed or amended.


We assessed the sponsored search ad and the website you object to, and considered your complaint in terms of the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising (BCAP). However, there does not appear to be a case to answer under the Code. I realise this response may be disappointing so I will explain the reason behind our decision below.


Whilst I understand your reasons for objecting to the use of the words “licenced taxi” to describe a private hire service, we have to consider how the majority of consumers are likely to interpret an ad, and whether they are likely to be misled. I should say that previously we have considered this issue in advertising, and the ASA Council considered that, regardless of any legal distinction, most readers would understand the word “taxi” as a generic term meaning a hired car. You can find more about the independent ASA Council and it’s members on our website, In light of Council considering consumers will interpret “taxi” as a generic term, we consider that the ads are unlikely to mislead consumers. In the absence of an apparent breach of Code, we do not propose any further action on this occasion. 


As I mentioned, the ASA is not a statutory body and we therefore are unable comment on legislation and whether this has been breached.  If you remained concerned about the legality around the use of the term “licenced taxis” you might want to seek further advice from Trading Standards. As such, I would suggest contactingthe Citizens Advice consumer service for further advice.  You can contact their helpline on 03454 040506 (Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm) or you can find further information


I realise this may not have been the outcome you were hoping for but I would like to thank you nonetheless for taking the time and trouble to raise your concerns with us. 


Yours sincerely


Sophie Marchant

Complaints Executive

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