Compaq has changed the way it shows its prices in national newspaper ad campaigns, following pressure from the Advertising Standards Authority.
The adverts, placed by Compaq on behalf of three of its biggest dealers P&P, Tplc, and ESS, had displayed net prices only (with "plus VAT at 17.5%" added in a much smaller type).
This contravenes both the ASA's code of advertising practice, and the Government's Price Marking Order of 1991, which says that adverts must show VAT inclusive prices unless addressed exclusively to businesses.
Bates Dorland, Compaq's ad agency, has rushed out revised ads which display inc-VAT and ex-VAT prices with an equal prominence.
ASA's action follows complaints from an un-named dealer, who had been ordered to change his advertising by a local trading standards office, so that it gave equal prominence to VAT inclusive prices.
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