Consumers browsing the internet should be aware of pop-up advertising, which is intended to attract web users or capture email addresses.
A pop-up will usually appear in a new web browser window containing an advertisement for goods or services. Some pop-ups will include a link to less scrupulous sites including;
• Certain types of downloaded content, such as images or free music
• Software installation
• Access to pornographic sites
• Gambling sites
The County Council’s Trading Standards Service has received complaints where consumers have clicked on a pop-up in the belief they were going to receive goods as part of a free trial. However, once the consumer has entered their personal details, including a debit or credit card number, extra payments may be taken.
Real Life Case Study
Miss B was browsing the internet when a pop-up advert appeared for face cream. Including in the advert was ‘before and after’ photographs to demonstrate how effective the cream was with prolonged use. Miss B was sceptical about the claims made, but as it was offered as a free trial, she decided to place an order. As soon as she submitted all her details, she received a receipt by email for £8.95 to cover the postage. This email also included a cooling off period, so Miss B sent notice of cancellation immediately. However, she received the cream two days later, with a letter explaining she had thirty days to return the cream or she would be charged a further £89. She reported this matter to Trading Standards, and with their intervention the trader (who is based abroad) has agreed the goods can be returned, and she will not be charged further money.
Consumers are advised NOT to click on any pop-up advert that may appear whilst browsing the internet. They should also check their internet settings to ensure the pop-up blocker is activated and that genuine anti-virus software is installed.
For further help or advice please contact;
Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on
08454 04 05 06
Or online using the Online consumer complaint form: