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Gateway and Siemens flout the law

Monitor monitor - the Reg turns supergrass

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Gateway and Fujitsu Siemens are due a slap on the wrist from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) - they're plugging away with old-style monitor advertising, and not revealing the true size of the screen that's viewable to the user.

The ASA has ruled it will no longer accept standard industry practice of giving CRT (cathode ray tube) sizes in adverts, without explaining how much of that the user can actually see. All PC adverts placed after 1 May were supposed to comply with this decision.

Today Gateway was advertising its Essential and Performance PCs in the national press, and Fujitsu Siemens has been banging away with Euroline national press ads for the last week. Neither was giving the true size of their systems' monitors.

It always takes a while for these kind of regulations to be adopted by every player in a market but these two companies are quite big players, so you'd think they'd get their act together. Anyway the ASA compliance team is getting in touch. Sorry the Reg grassed you up, but rules are rules.

What is going to be interesting about this ASA ruling is how long it is going to take the PC advertisers to comply in the monthly newsstand magazines. June issues are out now and there's no way every advertiser will have got their ad copy in shape. July issues will appear in the shops at the end of May, and though advertising copy will have been accepted after the 1 May deadline, firms will be able to get away with saying they didn't have time to comply - or didn't need to.

Come the August issues though, and there'll be no excuses. But a few companies are bound to push things to September. To make sure things get sorted the ASA is having words with the publishing houses so they know the rules as well.

While writing about the fascinating world of monitor sizes a few readers have written in wondering why they're still measured in inches rather than going metric.

Well, much as we'd love to see some have-a-go system builder take on Brussels bureaucrats over his right to sell monitors using imperial measurements, it's not going to happen.

The regulations about selling things in metric only apply to selling items by quantity - as the UK has implemented the law.

Chris Howell, lead trading standards officer for legal metrology (that's weights and measures to you and me), says: "The description [of monitor sizes in inches] isn't of any detriment to the consumer - and its difficult to argue differently on any basis that wouldn't be seen as pedantic."

However he did point out that there is a question mark over whether the UK had implemented the metric weights and measures law correctly. ®

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