ASA Adjudication on Crownfold Ltd
Crownfold Ltd t/a
Pennine Windows and Conservatories Home Improvement
2 Octavian Way
Team Valley trading Estate
Tyne and Wear
12 September 2012
Internet (on own site), Radio
Number of complaints:
A radio ad and a website, www.pennineconservatories.com, for a home improvements company:
Radio ad (a) stated, "National award winning Pennine has proudly served the North East for over 20 years."
Ad (b), the website, stated "Proudly serving the North East for over 20 years".
Two complainants challenged whether the claims that the advertisers had been trading for 20 years were misleading.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
Crownfold Ltd (Crownfold) said they had been trading since they were founded in 1989; therefore they had a trading history of 23 years. They originally traded as Paramount Windows and Conservatories. In January 2008 they purchased the assets and rights to the Pennine Windows/Pennine Home Improvements brand and eventually the original 'Paramount' brand was dropped in favour of the 'Pennine' brand. Because they had a trading history of 23 years Crownfold did not believe that the ads were misleading.
The Radio Advertising Clearance Centre (the RACC) said that ad (a) was cleared for broadcast on the understanding that Crownfold had been trading continuously for over 20 years.
The complainants objected to the claims that "Pennine" had been trading for over 20 years because they believed that Pennine went into liquidation and that guarantees from that time were not honoured by Crownfold. The ASA put this to Crownfold who said all Pennine guarantees from 2008 onwards, i.e. since they took over the Pennine brand, were honoured. Because they did not inherit the liabilities of the liquidated company, claims relating to guarantees provided before this time were referred to the relevant insurance company.
For a company to base claims such a "Proudly serving the North East for over 20 years" on the trading history of a company they have taken over, they must be able to show that they have taken on the debts and liabilities of that company - including guarantees. However, in this case Crownfold's claims were not based on the trading history of the liquidated company, but on their own trading history. Although Crownfold have not been trading as 'Pennine' for over 20 years, we considered that this was immaterial to the important aspect of the claim, which was that consumers would want to know that the company they were contracting with had the claimed trading history. Because consumers would be contracting with Crownfold, and they had the claimed trading history, we concluded that the claims were not materially misleading.
We investigated ad (a) under BCAP Code rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising) and 3.9 (Substantiation) but did not find it in breach.
We investigated ad (b) under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising) and 3.7 (Substantiation) but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.