Table of Contents

Advertising Regulations

26. Honoring Advertised False Prices

Stores should honor all erroneous advertised prices for their products (up to a difference of $100 per item), regardless of whether the store or advertising agency is responsible for the misprint or error. Stores and businesses placing ads through an advertising agency should make sure that they have an agreement with the advertising agency defining the division of financial liability in such matters so that the party responsible for the error actually pays the consequences. Regardless of whether or not an advertising agency pays the store for the agency’s mistake, the store would still be required to honor all advertised prices up to the limit of $100 per item. In cases where the difference between the advertised price and the actual sale price of an item is greater than $100, the store and/or ad agency would be responsible for honoring 50% of the difference over the first $100 as well.

Customers, some of whom may have made a special trip to the store just to purchase the sale item, should not be penalized (by not receiving the erroneously advertised discount) for advertising errors.


27. Hand Delivered Ads Must Be Put In Mailboxes

All advertisements/flyers that are delivered by hand and left on the floors of porches or attached to the front doors of houses or businesses, attached to fences, put on car windshields or put in any other places except inside mailboxes should be prohibited. (The restriction of using mailboxes only for postal mail should be lifted.) All these advertisements should be placed directly into mailboxes by the distributors or sent through the mail.

Otherwise, advertisements left in any other places except inside mailboxes contribute to a general decay in the aesthetic qualities of houses and neighborhoods, increase the amount of litter, increase the chances of crime occurring (a house with many advertisements/flyers collecting at the door suggest that no one is home), and increase the workload, frustration, and annoyance of residents and property owners. The penalty for delivering or leaving advertisements anywhere other than inside mailboxes should be equivalent to the fines levied for littering ($1,000). Even leaving flyers on car windshields should be prohibited. If there is no room inside the mailboxes, then the advertisements must be affixed to the mailbox in such a way that wind cannot easily blow it away.


28. Solicitation

Generally, unsolicited direct, personal (namely, door-to-door), electronic (including via telephone, email) advertising should be prohibited except for businesses or other entities who have had a customer-initiated contact with them ending within the past three months, unless such customers have expressly prohibited such contact.  Direct physical mailings should not be restricted.

Door to door residential solicitation should be illegal. At the very least, such solicitation should not be conducted between the hours of sunrise or 8 AM (whichever is later) and sunset or 8 PM (whichever is earlier).
Similarly, telephone solicitations, surveys, courtesy calls, etc., should only call between the hours of 8AM to 8 PM.

All verbal or intrusive solicitational contact (i.e. soliciting in which the solicitor initiates either an interference or verbal or physical contact) in relatively high stress places such as airports, hospitals, courts, etc., should be banned. Solicitors at these locations may use signs or booths that passersby may look at provided such actions do not involuntarily restrict any person from engaging in normal activities or obstruct the normal flow of traffic in such places.

All residential and commercial telephone customers should, by default, never have their telephone numbers on lists compiled by companies who engage in unsolicited telephone advertisements, promotions, propaganda, notices, courtesy calls, announcements, commercials, etc., without their permission. Customers can opt to receive such calls by notifying their telephone company of their desire to allow their telephone number to be distributed to telemarketers upon request. Or customers could notify individual telemarketers directly in order to retain control over which telemarketers may call them. Each telemarketer would be required to check with the telephone companies to insure that they only call the people who have expressly permitted such calls.  The fines for an illegal telemarketing call should be $100 per offense.

Telephone customers should probably also have the option to accept unsolicited telephone calls and charge such callers a fee for each call (perhaps $1) which would be paid directly to the customer receiving the call in the form of a credit towards their current or next telephone bill. The phone company would keep such records and would deduct the amount collected from such calls from the customer’s next telephone bill. As this system matures, telephone customers could charge any price they want and probably even choose which types of telemarketing calls to allow or disallow. Telemarketers would then desire to review such lists more frequently since customers may often decide to change how much they are willing to charge the telemarketers for making calls to customers. However, telephone companies would not be mandated to offer their customers this service in which telemarketers pay them for calls, since this service is mainly a non-critical convenience and which may require new infrastructures and expense for the phone company.


29. Public Advertising Spaces

There should be plenty of dedicated public places, walls or areas where people could post up advertisements, lost pet notifications, yard sale signs, or other signs or notices. This way telephone poles, light poles, and many other places would be free from staples, tape, torn paper, awkwardly mounted fluttering signs, and all other kinds of things that make many places look bad. Dedicated places could be designated within certain areas of supermarkets, gas stations, post offices, schools, public parks, etc.

All these areas could be swept clean on the same day once a month or once every two months by government workers so that there is not a buildup of outdated material. These clean up schedules would be posted at each location so that everyone who advertises there would know that their material will be removed on that date unless they come before then and want to remove it themselves to save it. Posting up signs in these areas should be free to the public. However, maybe next to these open displays there could also be glass or Plexiglas display cases where people could, maybe for a fee or special arrangement with the proper authorities, have their signs or messages protected from the weather and vandalism and/or arrange to have them left there through a certain number of the periodic one or two month purging periods.


30. Political Ads Should Clearly State Sponsors and Political Orientation

Political advertisements, transmitted through any medium, should clearly include the accurate names of the top sponsors (or category of sponsors) responsible for at least 50% of the ad’s budget and some information about their political orientation (Republican, Democrat, labor unions, business organizations, conservative, liberal, etc.) so that the average person would know from which side or political direction the ad is coming from. This would help discourage or even eliminate the practice of using deceiving, front organization names in political advertisements.


31. Ban Paid Endorsements

The practice of paying people (individuals, organizations, or businesses) for their endorsements of any product or service should be banned. Compensation (preferable on an hourly basis) for work performed should be encouraged. This is to minimize actual or perceived conflict of interest issues that are often associated with large endorsement payments.