ASA Adjudication on Frank Schrijver UK Ltd
Frank Schrijver UK Ltd
Addington Business Centre
Vulcan Way, New Addington
19 September 2012
National press, Internet (on own site)
Number of complaints:
Summary of Council decision:
Three issues were investigated, all were Not upheld.
A national press ad for a damp control system, was headed "Not just another brick in the wall". It stated, "Solve your damp problem once and for all". Further text stated, "Damp is a serious problem affecting 80% of UK homes". Under the sub-heading "Conventional chemical injection treatments are messy ..." it stated, "they involve injecting chemicals into the walls of your home to create a barrier against the moisture that causes damp. This means a team of builders coming into your home. .. And once it's all finished you've got to replaster and redecorate". Under the sub-heading "... and they don't tackle the cause of the problem" it stated, "Worse still, conventional treatments don't actually get rid of the damp. Instead they try to force it to go somewhere else ... Moreover, as the barrier gradually breaks down, the system will start to fail again and your damp problems will come back". The ad also stated "There are no chemicals, no need to replaster or redecorate and no mess". It also stated "Schrijver offers a lifetime guarantee".
The Property Care Association (PCA) challenged whether:
1. the ad misleadingly implied that the Schrijver system was less disruptive than conventional damp treatments;
2. the claim that there was "no need to replaster" was misleading; and
3. the claim that the advertiser offered a "lifetime guarantee" was sufficiently qualified.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
1. & 2. Frank Schrijver UK Ltd (Schrijver) said their system was installed from the outside of the building into the external walls and as such they did not have to remove any internal plaster; unlike many chemical treatments. They submitted 15 testimonials from customers in support of this. The testimonials referred to the lack of mess, hassle and internal disruption during the work.
3. Schrijver submitted their full guarantee terms and conditions. They did not believe that the claim "lifetime guarantee" was misleading.
1. & 2. Not upheld
The PCA stated that most chemical treatments involved drilling small holes into the mortar joint, whereas the Schrijver system required a section of brick to be removed before the unit was installed. They therefore considered that this system was potentially more disruptive than conventional chemical treatments. The ad stated, "Conventional damp treatments can be very messy. They involve injecting chemicals into the walls of your home to create a barrier against the moisture that causes damp. This means a team of builders coming into your home, drilling holes in your walls and pumping chemicals into your brickwork. And once it's all finished you've got to replaster and redecorate ... Schrijver is different: it works by removing the moisture ... by installing a series of small handmade elements into the external face of the wall ... There are no chemicals, no need to replaster or redecorate and no mess". We considered that the comparison between the Schrijver system and conventional treatments was sufficiently qualified and clear. Consumers would understand from the ad that the claim that the Schrijver system was "less disruptive" was based on the fact that it was carried out on the external face of the wall, rather than inside the house.
The PCA also objected to the claim that replastering would not be necessary on the grounds that damage caused by damp could contaminate plaster and they understood that the Schrijver system would not reverse this damage. We noted the PCA's objections, however we considered that it was sufficiently clear from the ad that the claim "there is no need to re-plaster" referred to replastering as a result of fitting the treatment, rather than as a result of existing damage. We therefore concluded that the claim was not misleading.
On these points we investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 and 3.3 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation), 3.9 (Qualification) and 3.38 (Other comparisons) but did not find it in breach.
3. Not upheld
We noted the terms and conditions of the guarantee submitted by Schrijver and that these were available before the consumer was committed to taking up the guarantee. Because the guarantee contained no significant limitations, of the type that had implications for a consumer's rights, we concluded that the claim did not require further clarification and so had not breached the Code.
On this point we investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 and 3.3 (Misleading advertising), 3.9 (Qualification), 3.53, 3.54 and 3.55 (Guarantees and after-sales services) but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.