Fair Trade Commission's Disposal Directions (Guidelines) on Online Advertisements

Passed by the 1047th Commissioners' Meeting on November 30, 2011
Promulgated by Order Kung San Tzu No. 10014622983 on December 9, 2011
The title amended by the 1057th Commissioners' Meeting on February 8, 2012
Promulgated by Order Kung Jing Tzu No. 1011460191 on March 3, 2012
Point 5 amended by the 1305th Commissioners' Meeting on November 9, 2016
Promulgated by Order Kung Jing Tzu No. 10514613661 on November 16, 2016

1. Purpose

These disposition guidelines are formulated specifically for the purpose of preserving trading order and protecting the rights and interests of consumers, as well as effectively handling online false advertisement cases.

2.Definition of Terms

The online advertisements mentioned in these guidelines refer to the actions, for the purposes of selling its products or services, that a business adopts to disseminate information, via the Internet, with regard to the products or services in order to attract trading opportunities.

3.Advertisers I

An advertiser is a business that publishes and disseminates advertisements on the Internet for the purpose of selling its products or services.

4.Advertisers II

In the case of an online shopping advertisement that is co-created by the suppliers and the website operator, the suppliers, who provide information of products or services, and the website operator, who publishes and disseminates information and engages in sales in its own name, are all advertisers of the said online advertisement.

5.Truthful Representations Principle

A business must fulfill its obligation of providing truthful representations while publishing online advertisement. In addition, it must ensure that the content of the advertisement is identical to the actual situation of the products or services.

6.Timely Correction Principle

A business must continually monitor and ensure that the contents of its advertisements are identical to the originally published and disseminated online advertisements. If there are errors in the contents of an advertisement, or if the products or services have been changed or discontinued, the advertisement must be promptly corrected.

7.Full Disclosure of Restrictions Principle

When publishing and disseminating online advertisements, a business must fully disclose its restrictions that may affect consumers' trading decisions, and avoid improper layout or presentation that make it difficult for consumers to understand the contents of the restrictions, and thus lead to potential misunderstandings and erroneous decisions.

8.Types of False or Misleading Representations or Symbols

Online advertisements shall not contain any of the following false or misleading representations or symbols:
(1) The price, quantity, quality, content and other information in the advertisement with regard to the trade do not match the facts.
(2) When making corrections, due to changes or errors, to the contents of the advertisements and conditions of trade, the corrections made do not fully and timely disclose the truth, and the remedial method used only instructs consumers to see store front bulletins or to call the store for details.
(3) The relevant promotional content or giveaway gifts listed in the advertisements are conditional. In addition, consumers are not provided with the opportunity or method to fulfill such conditions.
(4) Important trade information or relevant restrictions in the advertisement are not clearly specified. Improper layout that gives rise to misunderstandings is included even when the information is expressed stated.
(5) The advertisement claims that the online payment service is equipped with a mechanism that provides for confidentiality, which is actually not true.
(6) The advertisement does not clearly specify time, methods of use, or types of online sweepstakes activities.
(7) The content of the advertisement offers hyperlinks to other websites, causing misunderstandings or erroneous decisions on the part of consumers with regards to the quality, content, or source of the products or services.
(8) The advertisement offers online coupons, buy-one-get-one-free discounts, discount coupon downloads, and other promotional activities, but the relevant conditions of use, burden for the consumers, or date of expiration are not clearly specified.

9.Types of False or Misleading Representations or Symbols—Online Advertisements with Endorsements

With regard to online advertisements that use third party’s endorsements or articles on social networking sites written by users (including bloggers) to promote their products or services, the advertisers must ensure that the contents are consistent with the facts, and that the advertisements do not contain any of the conditions mentioned above. 

10.Legal Effects

A business that violates the provisions of Article 8 or Article 9 may be in violation of the provisions of Article 21 of the Fair Trade Law.

In a case where the online advertisement constitutes a violation of the provisions of Article 9, the endorsers or social networking site users (including bloggers) who, with intent, carry out the violation along with the advertiser, shall be penalized in accordance with the provisions of the Article that the advertiser violates.

11.Supplementary Provisions

In addition to the disposition guidelines delineated above, the provisions of Article 21 of the Fair Trade Law and their relevant disposition guidelines shall apply to online advertisement cases.