ASA Ruling on The Knowledge Academy Ltd
The Knowledge Academy Ltd
30 January 2013
Internet (search engine), Internet (on own site)
Number of complaints:
Summary of Council decision:
Three issues were investigated, of which two were Not Upheld and one was Upheld.
A sponsored search result on Google and a related website, for a training, coaching, and consulting service, www.theknowledgeacademy.com.
a. The sponsored ad stated "PRINCE2 Training Fr £199 | TheKnowledgeAcademy.com ... Overview Foundation & Practitioner. 5 Day PRINCE2 Training, inc Exam". Underneath text stated "F + P from £525 P from £250 F from £275".
b. The website provided a drop down list of locations, including Chelmsford, for the PRINCE2 Foundation & Practitioner course. Prices started from £795 and the original prices of £1695 were crossed through.
The complainant challenged whether:
1. the claim "PRINCE2 Training Fr £199" in ad (a) was misleading, because they could not find any courses offered at that price on the website;
2. the claim that they offered courses in Chelmsford in ad (b) was misleading, because they were informed by the advertiser that they did not run courses in Chelmsford.
3. They also challenged whether the original prices stated in ad (b) could be substantiated.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
1. The Knowledge Academy Ltd (The Knowledge Academy) submitted various invoices that indicated that a PRINCE2 courses had been purchased for a total of between £178.80 and £196.50. They also provided a link to the "Online Training" section of their website, which they said demonstrated that PRINCE2 courses were available at £199.
2. They said a PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner course ran from 29 October 2012 to 2 November 2012 in Chelmsford and submitted four invoices sent to delegates that related to this. They also submitted an invoice sent to them from a hotel in Chelmsford that related to five days of room hire and refreshments.
3. They understood that pre-sale prices should be the last price at which a course was offered and should have been available at that price for 28 consecutive days in the previous six months and said this information was reflected on their website. They said their pricing was aligned to current legislation and government guidance and that one of the invoices demonstrated that the course had been sold at £1695.
1. Not upheld
The ASA considered that readers would understand from the ad that PRINCE2 training was available from £199. The invoices demonstrated that in 2012 four payments for less than £199 had been received for PRINCE2 training and the "Online Training" section of the website indicated that PRINCE2 Online Elearning courses were available for £198. We considered that the advertiser had demonstrated that PRINCE2 training was available from £199 and therefore concluded that the claim "PRINCE2 Training Fr £199" was not misleading.
On this point we investigated ad (a) under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation), 3.17 (Prices) and 3.28 (Availability) but did not find it in breach.
2. Not upheld
The four invoices sent to delegates and the invoice sent from a hotel demonstrated that a PRINCE2 2009 Foundation and Practitioner course ran from 29 October 2012 to 2 November 2012 in Chelmsford. The claim that the advertiser offered courses in Chelmsford had therefore been substantiated and we concluded that it was not misleading.
On this point 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.
One of the invoices indicated that on 2 July 2012 one place on the PRINCE2 2009 Foundation and Practitioner course had been purchased for a total of £2034. Further details indicated that £1695 was the amount for the course and £339 was 20% VAT. However, because the quoted price clearly excluded VAT and we had not received evidence that demonstrated that all of The Knowledge Academy's customers paid no VAT, or could recover VAT, we concluded that the original prices in ad (b) had not been substantiated and were therefore misleading.
On this point the ad (b) breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation), 3.17 and 3.18 (Prices).
Ad (b) must not appear again in its current form. We told The Knowledge Academy Ltd to ensure that their prices included VAT in future. No further action necessary with regard to ad (a).