ASA Adjudication on Pro Plastics
75 Newhouse Road
7 January 2009
Number of complaints:
A circular, for a UPVC specialist, was headed "PRO PLASTICS UPVC SPECIALISTS Est. 1980 Over 25 Years in the Home Improvement Business". Text in the body of the circular stated "Dear Sir / Madam, Consider the benefits of improving your home with HUGE DISCOUNTS on the installation of UPVC Fascias, Soffits & Guttering!" Further text stated "Through our research department, we have identified several properties in your road, one of which is yours, that would be suitable for our advertising campaign. For the first two selected homeowners to respond from your road, we are prepared to offer a 20% discount on our normal prices." The circular gave further details of the advertisers’ services and provided contact details.
A member of the public challenged:
1. whether the claims "Est. 1980" and "Over 25 Years in the Home Improvement Business" were misleading and could be substantiated because he had been unable to find historical references to the company, and
2. whether the company had a research department as claimed.
CAP Code (Edition 11)
1. & 2. Pro Plastics did not respond in writing but informed the ASA in a telephone call that the business had been passed from father to son and had been in operation for more than 25 years.
The ASA was concerned that we had not received a response in writing from Pro Plastics. We reminded them of their duty to respond promptly in writing in future.
1. & 2. Upheld
We noted that Pro Plastics had not supplied any evidence to substantiate their claims to have been established in 1980, to have been in the home improvements business for over 25 years, or that they had a research department that carried out any research on suitable properties for their products. We were concerned that they were unable to substantiate their claims and concluded that the ad was misleading.
On these points, the circular breached CAP Code clauses 3.1 (Substantiation) and 7.1 (Truthfulness).
The circular must not appear again in its current form. We told Pro Plastics not to repeat the claims unless they held robust substantiation.
Adjudication of the ASA Council (Non-broadcast)