On Tuesday the British Office of Fair Trading (OFT) published a market study in which it lays out its views on behavioural advertising and targeted pricing practices.
The OFT concludes that while industry self-regulation addresses some concerns about behavioural advertising, more could be done to provide consumers with better information about how personal information is collected and used.
It is estimated that the revenue from online behavioural advertising is currently between 64m and 95m Pound. This figure is likely to rise significantly in the future.
The OFT calls upon industry to provide clear notices alongside behavioural adverts and information about opting out. In addition to this, the OFT considers that the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) could also apply to business practices in this area, for example misleading consumers about the collection of information.
Should industry not take effective action, the OFT together with the Information Commisioner’s Office are strengthening enforcement action.
In addition to this, the study shows that consumer strongly oppose pricing based on previous purchases, browsing behaviour or geographic location. This has led the OFT to conclude that consumers who knew that targeted prices were being applied would change their behaviour, meaning that failure to inform consumers about the practice could breach the CPRs and in such an event the OFT would consider enforcement action.
For further information, see: http://www.oft.gov.uk/news-and-updates/press/2010/53-10