ASA Ruling on NET Homeworkers
98 Rowan Avenue
Tyne & Wear
25 April 2007
Number of complaints:
A regional press ad read "Data Entry Clerk/Typist Earn £150-£300 per week typing data online ... Excellent work opportunity & the chance to earn money. To apply, please ring 0845 ... (local call rate)".
1. The complainant thought the ad was misleading because it did not make clear that he had to pay a non-refundable fee to register with the company before receiving information about work opportunities.
The ASA challenged:
2. the ads failure to include a description of the work involved;
3. the ad's failure to state the advertiser's full name and address;
4. whether the claim "potential earnings of £150-£300 per week" could be substantiated and
5. the description of the "0845" number as a local rate call.
CAP Code (Edition 11)
1. NET Homeworkers explained that when applicants telephoned about the position, they were directed to the NET Homeworkers website. They said the website made clear that applicants were required to pay a £25 non-refundable fee for training for a self-employed homework scheme.
2. NET Homeworkers said they believed the ad included a description of the work involved.
3. NET Homeworkers told the ASA that the ad had not included their postal address because they were an internet-based company and had not wanted to receive post. They added that their address was readily available to anyone who wanted it.
4. NET Homeworkers explained that the quoted potential earnings of "£150-£300" per week were based on figures supplied by people doing the job. They told us, during a telephone conversation, that they had taken the lowest and highest quoted figures to give a range of likely earnings.
5. NET Homeworkers said the "0845" number quoted in the ad was a local rate number as stated in the ad.
NET Homeworkers told the ASA they were not currently running the ad and said they would amend it in line with the ASA's decision.
The ASA noted a fee applied for training but considered that the existence of a fee was a significant condition likely to affect a reader's decision to request further information. We concluded that the ad should have made clear that there was a financial outlay involved for training for a homework scheme and, because it had not, it was misleading.
On this point, the ad breached CAP Code clauses 7.1 (Truthfulness), 52.1 and 52.4 (Employment and business opportunity).
We noted the ad and the website described the job as consisting of online data entry. However, we were concerned that the ad, and the corresponding website, had not made clear that there was no actual position available and that the self-employed position involved placing ads, like the one investigated, and charging applicants a fee for "training". Because that information was not included in either the ad or in follow-up literature made available to all consumers before commitment, we concluded that it was a breach of the Code.
On this point, the ad breached CAP Code clauses 7.1 (Truthfulness) and 52.4 (Business opportunity).
We noted NET Homeworkers' reason for not including their address in the ad or on their website. However, we concluded that it was a breach of the CAP Code not to include their full name and geographical address in either the ad or in follow-up literature that had been made available to all consumers before commitment.
On this point, the ad breached CAP Code clauses 52.1 and 52.4 (Employment and business opportunity).
We noted NET Homeworkers' statement that the quoted potential earnings were based on figures supplied by people currently doing the job. Because that substantiation was anecdotal in nature, we concluded that they had not supported the claim.
On this point, the ad breached CAP Code clauses 3.1 (Substantiation), 7.1 (Truthfulness) and 52.4 (Employment and business opportunity).
We noted NET Homeworkers statement that "0845" calls were charged at the local rate. We understood, however, that the link between the cost of an "0845" call and local rate calls no longer applied and that the price per minute depended upon the service provider. We therefore concluded that the description of the "0845" number as a local rate call was misleading.
On this point, the ad breached CAP Code clause 7.1 (Truthfulness).
We told NET Homeworkers not to use the ad again and told them to contact the CAP Copy advice team for guidance with future ads.
Adjudication of the ASA Council (Non-broadcast)