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BUSINESSES need to think carefully before using free offers in their promotions, says a law firm.

Warner Goodman Commercial, which has branches in Portsmouth and Fareham, gave the warning as the Committee of Advertising Practice and Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice released new guidance.

It offers guidance on how to give away goods or services without flouting unfair trading regulations. Both new sets of guidelines can be found on

Geoffrey Sturgess, of Warner Goodman Commercial, said: ‘The area is a nightmare. Firstly because it is not easy to decide what is acceptable and what is not, but secondly because the enforcement authorities only pick up on a small proportion of offenders.

‘This means that doing what others are doing does not mean that you are OK.

‘My recommendation for is to develop a relationship with the local Trading Standards department and take advantage of the free advice offered by CAP.’