Ad descriptionA website for Aesthetics Uni, a beauty training course provider, www.aestheticsuni.com, seen on 12 February 2019, featured a page entitled "COURSE Practitioner Lip Filler", which included a course overview.
IssueThe Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP), who believed that the course did not conform to their own standards, challenged whether the claims on the website gave a misleading impression of the advertised courses.
ResponseA.U Training Ltd t/a Aesthetics Uni said they had removed the claim “You can now enter this course as a novice and learn a range of techniques for injection of lip filler” from the web page.
The ASA noted the headline “COURSE Practitioner Lip Filler” and the claims “This is an ideal starting point for a career in aesthetics”, “Gain valuable experience of beginner level injection”, “You can now enter this course as a novice and learn a range of techniques for injection of lip filler injection” and "By the end of this course you will be more than comfortable with these procedures and ready to help your clients look great and feel more confident".
We considered that prospective students seeking to begin their career in beauty therapy would expect that by completing the course they would be given the knowledge and skills needed to begin administering lip filler injections professionally. As such, we considered that the ad should have provided them with the information they needed to make an informed decision as to whether or not to enquire further about enrolling on the course. We noted that from their web page entitled “Choosing who will do your cosmetic procedure”, the NHS advised patients they could check if medical professionals were listed on relevant statutory or voluntary registers, including the JCCP’s register, which informed patients that practitioners met set standards of training, insurance and skill.
The page also gave advice specifically to patients seeking dermal filler, advising them to ask the practitioner what qualifications, training and experience they had and to avoid practitioners who had only completed a short training course in their chosen procedure as complications could be serious, including infection, nerve damage and blindness.
We considered that prospective students might have been unfamiliar with the advice given by the NHS, but that such information was likely to impact on prospective patients’ choice of practitioner. In that context, we considered that a website for training courses that were intended to provide students with qualifications relevant to the administration of beauty treatments, such as lip filler, should have provided information on: the requirements for acceptance onto the course; the nature and duration of the training; the qualification that would be attained; and whether the qualification met the standards necessary for admittance onto a relevant professional register.
We considered that information to be material because it gave students an indication of the likelihood of the course giving them the knowledge and skills required to safely carry out the procedures independently. The web page included several statements that indicated the course was suitable for those with very little pre-existing knowledge or experience, such as “This is an ideal starting point” and “You can now enter this course as a novice …”. The page also stated “We accept students from various backgrounds and every case study is different therefore the best thing to do is contact us”. There did not therefore appear to be any set minimum standard for entry onto the course.
Under the heading “What will I learn?”, several bullet points listed types of injection technique and others referred to aspects of patient care such as “Contra indications” and “Post treatment advice & when not to treat a client”. The ad also stated “COURSE LENGTH & PRICE: on application”. It was not clear from the information provided how students would obtain the knowledge or practical experience required to safely administer the procedures, or to deal with complications when things went wrong.
The web page did not state the name or status of the qualification that would be attained, or whether the qualification met the standards necessary for admittance onto a relevant professional register. We welcomed Aesthetics Uni’s willingness to make changes to the web page. However, we considered the removal of one claim was not sufficient to prevent the ad from misleading. Because the website omitted the material information listed above, we concluded it was likely to mislead.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 and 3.3 (Misleading advertising).
The ad must not appear again in the form complained of. We told A.U Training Ltd t/a Aesthetics Uni to ensure their future advertising did not omit material information, such as the requirements for acceptance onto the course, the nature and duration of the training, the qualification that would be attained, and whether the qualification met the standards necessary for admittance onto a relevant professional register.