FCA Seeks Law Change as Google Fails to Stem Advertising Scams

Author: Jon Clarke - Bullion & Economics Editor

Published: 29 Sep 2020

Last Updated: 2 Feb 2023


FCA Chairman Charles Randall has called for further legislation as the lack of progress between the regulator and Google had become “deeply frustrating”. 

Credit: Pixabay


As we have written about previously, the Google search engine allows for “organic” searches, or even paid adverts which has the benefit of allowing a firm to be consistently at the top of search results. There’s nothing wrong with paid advertising, per se. The costs of paying for an ad would be measured with the possible returns it could achieve.

A well-placed advertisement for a product can give a needed edge in a competitive market. Unfortunately, the search platform has given rise to a number of overpriced products or even outright scams.

New Calls for Action

The FCA has been critical of Google for accepting payment from fraudulent ads while at the same time, accepting thousands of pounds from the FCA in their attempts to curb such advertisements. Former head of the City watchdog, now Bank of England Governor, Andrew Bailey had complained in an email that the FCA was “having to do Google’s job” for them.

Now, the FCA is calling for new legislation, presumably to outlaw rogue ads, instead of Google merely removing ads following complaints from financial campaigners and regulators.

Our Standpoint

We’ve spoken on numerous occasions about the scams and rip-offs on internet sites, but Google’s failure to act and apparent impotence of the FCA, we feel it is only right that we reiterate our views.

The phrase “a fool and his money are soon parted” often comes to mind, not just with online sales, but any “get rich quick” scheme. Of course, that is not to say that the FCA and Google can't find ways of filtering dishonest ads, if not removing them altogether, but what we can suggest is for potential customers to do their homework before shelling out for fake, overpriced, or even non-existent products.

We have no plans to start paying for expensive and unnecessary ads as we feel our content is honest and accurate enough, that we don’t need to. We conduct regular price comparisons with many of our UK competitors and are always please to find our prices among the lowest for most products.

Click here for our article Fools Gold: Who's the Greater Fool?, click here.

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