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If a company claims that their product is superior to competitors' products and demonstrates their superiority by making an apples to oranges comparison (e.g. our product with default settings is better than competitor's product with quality settings manually turned off and contrary to default and recommended proactive) is that illegal?

What legal or other recourse is possible?

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  • Do they use the competioners trademark or do they say "Compared to other formula"? Example cleaning agent: "XY cleans more fat than any generic product" or "XY cleans better than AB"?
    – Trish
    Jan 27, 2021 at 14:53
  • @Trish they specify the competitors by name. Thanks!
    – Jonathan
    Jan 27, 2021 at 15:06

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What legal ... recourse is possible?

One could make a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) being the UK’s independent regulator of advertising across all media.

The ASA enforces the following Codes depending on where and how an advert is published:

Both Codes, sections 3.33 to 3.37, cover instances of "Comparisons with Identifiable Competitors" and use identical wording to require either "Marketing communications" or "Advertisements" (respectively):

... that include a comparison with an identifiable competitor must not mislead, or be likely to mislead, the consumer about either the advertised product or the competing product.

The ASA has a variety of sanctions available to it to deal with Code breaches ranging from damaging an offending advertiser’s reputation via bad publicity to referring the case to either Trading Standards or Ofcom who have their own statutory powers - including the possibility to prosecute serious or serial offenders.

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