Five tips guaranteed to get your guarantees on the right track

Offering a guarantee or warranty can give consumers some added comfort when making a purchase – particularly when it involves larger sums of money.  That said, the word ‘guarantee’ can have many different meanings and not all warranties are created equal, so any restrictions or limitations must be clear. 

Read on for five top tips on advertising guarantees and warranties.

1. Make sure the meaning of the “guarantee” claim is clear

Depending on context, the word “guarantee” can have several meanings.  It can be understood as a claim of efficacy; a price promise; or a formal agreement to replace/mend a product if it fails (also known as a warranty).  However the word is used, its meaning should be clear to the consumer.

2. Don’t make an absolute performance claim you cannot prove

We know marketers have confidence in their products and services and such self-assurance is great.  But, you need to make sure you don’t claim that performance is guaranteed unless you can demonstrate this is true in all cases - without exception.   

3. Don’t confuse between “lowest price guarantee” and “lowest price guaranteed”.

Amazingly the addition of one little letter can completely change the meaning of the word “guarantee”.  If you have done all your research and set your prices lower than your competitors then it would be fine to say “lowest price guaranteed”, because you are making a proactive price promise. But if you have a policy to offer a lower price than a competitor when a relevant competing price is presented by the customer, then this should be referred to as “lowest price guarantee”, because you are making a reactive price promise. 

This ASA ruling shows what can happen when the two meanings are confused and CAP Guidance provides help on the understanding of Lowest Price Claims and Promises.

4. Tell people about any restrictions on your guarantee.

Consumers often have legal rights that can come into play if some things they buy are faulty.  Some marketers also offer extended warranties/guarantees that go beyond factors covered by legislation and, in those cases, marketers will need to make consumers aware of any limitations on that warranty/guarantee if they go beyond what is expected. 

5. Make sure you honour your guarantees

From ‘no quibble 2 year warranties’ to money-back guarantees, if you offer a warranty or guarantee then make sure you honour it.  If you don’t, your claims will almost certainly be found to be misleading.

 For further advice, see our AdviceOnline entry on guarantees and warranties.  Our Copy Advice team are also on-hand to provide free, bespoke advice on non-broadcast ads.

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