Wednesday 9 May 2018

ASA: British Gas ads were misleading

ASA: British Gas ads were misleading

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled two of British Gas' television adverts and one on its website are misleading.

The ads for the company's HomeCare product said it offered an 'annual' and 'yearly' boiler service - however, five complainants, who understood the services could be up to 24 months apart, challenged whether the claims 'annual boiler service' and 'yearly boiler service' were misleading.

British Gas explained HomeCare customers would be entitled to receive a yearly boiler service, which was why it was stated in their marketing.

The firm acknowledged it was possible the yearly services could be up to 23 months apart, for example, if a customer had their first service within 42 days of the contract commencing and their next service was not completed until the end of the second year.

The ASA considered that in the absence of qualification, consumers would understand the claim 'yearly boiler service' to mean they would receive a service of their boiler within 12 months of signing up to the plan and subsequently within a 12-month period following the first service and again within 12-month periods for as long as they kept the plan.

It has ruled that the ads must not appear in their current form.

It said: "We considered that it was not sufficiently clear within the ads that rescheduled services could take place outside a 12-month or annual timeframe. We therefore concluded that the ads were misleading."

A spokesperson from British Gas told ELN: “Although we are disappointed with the outcome, we acknowledge the ASA’s ruling and will adhere to its recommendation. In common with other insurance contracts, HomeCare is an annual contract with a 12-month term and as part of this, customers are entitled to receive a boiler service once within each 12-month term and are able to choose when they have it.

"While it is possible it may be longer than 12 months between service visits, this is not the norm, or something we encourage. Occasionally we have to reschedule service visits if there is a large volume of emergency boiler breakdown appointments for our vulnerable customers that require prioritising.”

Written by

Bruna Pinhoni

Trending Articles