Thailand has issued a regulation on advertising content—including language-related requirements—securing the right of consumers to clear and fair advertising. The Committee on Advertisement, a subcommittee of the Consumer Protection Board under the Consumer Protection Act B.E. 2560 (2017) (the CPA), laid out the rules in Notification Re: Guidelines on Use of Advertisement Statements by Confirming Facts that are Difficult to Prove and Guidelines on Proof of Advertisement Statements B.E. 2565 (2022). The notification, which repeals and replaces two previous guidelines on the same subject matter, was published in the Government Gazette on January 13, 2023, and took effect the following day.
Under the CPA, advertisements must not be false or exaggerative. If the Committee on Advertisement suspects an advertisement of breaching this restriction, the business operator may have to provide proof of the claims in their advertisement. This new notification clarifies the criteria for determining whether advertisements are false, exaggerative, or unfair to consumers, and also outlines the procedure and evidence for proof of the advertisement at issue.
The notification requires that advertisements fulfill several requirements:
- Advertising statements must be in Thai; must be easily seen, heard, or read; and must not be misleading. If the advertisement is in a foreign language, the Thai translation must also be made available. The notification additionally sets detailed requirements for different types of advertisement media.
- The primary purpose of the advertisement must be to give consumers clear and sufficient understanding. For example, if an advertisement claims that services will be provided free, the services must not be conditional on any fees, so consumers understand correctly that they do not have to pay any fee for the services.
- Descriptions mentioned in advertisements—such as quantity, volume, size, number, or ingredients or elements—must reflect the actual products or services sold to the consumers.
- If the advertisement refers to results of testing or experiments undertaken in specific conditions, the name of the testing institute or organization together with the specifics of the test or experiment must be visible on the advertisement.
The notification also prohibits statements that:
- Exclude or restrict the advertiser’s liabilities or enable it to change conditions without prior notice—or that otherwise put consumers at a disadvantage, such as:
- “We reserve the right to change the price and other conditions without prior notice.”
- “The picture shown is only an example of our products and may not be the same as the products provided in this promotional campaign.”
- Appeal to personal beliefs (e.g., through spiritual promises, superstitious claims, etc.), or that seek to persuade consumers who are emotionally distressed or in need of spiritual support, such as:
- “This product will bring you instant results.”
- “This product will bring you results within seven days.”
- “We can perform a ritual to bring your ex back to you.”
- Overpromise a guarantee or warranty, or that do not provide clear and accurate details of the conditions of a guarantee, such as:
- “Safe and worry-free.”
- “You can receive a refund if the product does not work.”
- “Satisfaction guaranteed.”
- Confirm facts by comparing the advertised product or service to another product or service, using words such as “the best,” “excellent,” “highest,” “superb,” “exceptional,” “number one, “the only one,” “the only company,” “the first shop,” “the only shop,” “this single time,” or “the only shop in Thailand.”
- Purport to be based on academic reports, research results, or statistical data certified by an institute, person, or award, unless proven or substantiated by reliable evidence.
Therefore, all business operators and merchants—particularly platform service providers that create a variety of advertisements in the course of their business and marketing campaigns—should revisit not only their advertising practices but also the relevant terms and conditions that they communicate or distribute to users or the public.
For further information, please contact:
Nutavit Sirikan, Tilleke & Gibbins