ASA Adjudication on Sivast Ltd
Sivast Ltd t/a
Watermans Business Park
25 July 2012
Internet (on own site), National press
Number of complaints:
A press ad and a website, www.40years.prontaprint.com, made the claim that Prontaprint was "CELEBRATING 40 YEARS OF SUCCESS ... EST. 1971".
One complainant challenged whether the claim could be substantiated as he believed Prontaprint Ltd went into liquidation in 2011.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
Sivast Ltd (Sivast) provided documents that showed the intellectual property of Prontaprint Ltd, including the right to use the Prontaprint brand, was sold to Sivast Ltd and that they had acquired the brand with limited liabilities. They also told us that the parent company of Prontaprint and Kall Kwick at the time of liquidation, On Demand Communications (ODC), had bank and loan creditors in excess of £10m which they said were being recovered from remaining assets, meaning the balances would be largely written off. They said the administration had impacted only on the viability of the corporate entity to service its debt burden and not on the ability of franchisees to continue to trade as Prontaprint.
The advertiser said that they were justified in using the Prontaprint brand as it had not been subject to re-branding and so continued to exist from 1971. Furthermore, as consumers were purchasing from a franchisee or licensee and not the corporate owner and because the ad was sponsored, approved and paid for by the Prontaprint licensees themselves, this supported the use of the 40 years success claim.
In order to claim continuous trading, the ASA considered that Sivast needed to show they had assumed the liabilities and debts of ODC. The information submitted did not demonstrate that the advertiser had taken on all the debts of Prontaprint Ltd. We noted that some individual franchisees had continued to trade with their respective debts. We concluded that as it was Sivast who had placed the ad, and not an individual store, and because we had not seen robust evidence that the advertiser had assumed all liabilities and debts of ODC, the claim was likely to mislead.
The ads breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising) and 3.7 (Substantiation).
The ads must not appear in their current form. We told Sivast Ltd not to made continuous trading claims in future.