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ASA Adjudication on Lincolnshire Motorcycles Ltd

Lincolnshire Motorcycles Ltd

Sunnydene Main Street
Bigby
North Lincolnshire
DN38 6EW

Date:

15 February 2012

Media:

Internet (on own site)

Sector:

Business

Number of complaints:

1

Complaint Ref:

A11-171563

Ad

An ad for a used motorcycle, visited on 1 August, on the website www.lincolnshiremotorcycles.co.uk. The headline stated "06 KAWASAKI ZZR 1400". The main body of the text stated "This motorcycle can only be described as in immaculate condition and a real credit to its former owner. It benefits from SP Engineering Carbon Cans (originals included). Power commander, Heated Grips, Power Bronze Bubble Screen and R&G Crash Bobbins. It has recently been serviced and has 11 months Mot left on it. We will put 6 months tax on it so you will have no money to spend for some time. At £5295 you will have to be quick if you want to be the next owner of this stunning bike." The ad also stated "16099 Miles, Outstanding Condition, Carbon Cans" and featured various images of the bike.

Issue

The complainant challenged whether the claims:

1."Immaculate condition";

2. "Recently serviced"; and

3. "You will have no money to spend for some time"

were misleading, because extensive repairs to the bike were needed.

CAP Code (Edition 12)

Response

1.Lincolnshire Motorcycles Ltd (Lincolnshire Motorcycles) stated that the complainant was given time to fully inspect and test ride the bike if they wished to verify that it was in the condition described. They provided documentation that showed the bike had been recently serviced. They also provided a copy of the approved MOT certificate which showed that only 500 miles were covered on the bike between the MOT and when the complainant purchased the bike. They had also given the bike a pre-delivery inspection to demonstrate that the bike was roadworthy.

2. They stated the bike had recently been serviced by its previous owner from another garage and they provided us with the documentation that proved that.

3. They said the complainant had purchased the bike with a three-month ECU warranty (which covered main engine issues); during that period the complainant had not contacted Lincolnshire Motorcycles to raise any problems, and they believed that any possible problems could have been solved had they been contacted. Lincolnshire Motorcycles understood that the complainant spent money on the bike elsewhere. The complainant did not take the matter up with the MOT testing station or the Ministry of Transport, where the parts could have been checked independently as to their serviceability. Lincolnshire Motorcycles believed the bike showed the usual wear and tear consistent with the age and mileage of the bike. They stated that this particular motorcycle was a fine example of a bike that had been very well cared for by its previous owners.

Assessment

1. Upheld

The ASA noted that the complainant was given time to fully inspect the bike and test ride the bike to verify that it was as described as “in immaculate condition" before purchasing. However, we considered that the term "immaculate condition" was a very strong claim and suggested that the bike was almost as good as new, or certainly that it was better than the average condition of a second-hand bike. We considered the advertiser's comments suggested that it was in line with the condition of most second-hand bikes, and that this was not enough to classify the bike's condition as "immaculate". We concluded that the term "immaculate" was an exaggeration and was therefore misleading.

On this point, the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising) and 3.11 (Exaggeration).

2. Not Upheld

We noted that the bike had been "recently serviced" and that Lincolnshire Motorcycles had provided the documentation to prove the service had been carried out. We also noted that the bike had passed its MOT, less than 500 miles before the complainant bought the bike. Although we were unable to assess the quality of the service, we concluded the documentation showed that the claim "recently serviced" was not misleading.

On this point, we investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising) and 3.11 (Exaggeration) but did not find it in breach.

3. Upheld

We noted that the bike had a three-month ECU warranty. Nevertheless, we considered that the statement in the ad "you will have no money to spend for some time" was an exaggerated claim as we believed the claim went beyond the limits of the warranty. We considered the term "you will have no money to spend for some time" went beyond three months and they did not provide any evidence which proved that the bike would not need money spent on it.

On this point, the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising) and 3.11 (Exaggeration).

Action

The ad must not appear again in its current form.

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