The website www.abbeycourtcarsales.co.uk for a car dealership stated "24 MONTHS WARRANTY ON ALL RETAIL CARS!". On clicking through to view specific cars, text stated "All Retail Cars Are Supplied With 3, 12 Or 24 Month Warranties".
The complainant challenged whether the ad was misleading because it implied that all cars came with a 24-month warranty.
Abbey Court Car Sales Ltd said they had not stated that a 24-month warranty was included on retail car sales. They said once a customer selected a car to view, the description of the car made it clear that a three-, 12- or 24-month warranty was available to purchase.
The ASA considered that consumers were likely to interpret the headline wording "24 months warranty on all retail cars" to mean that any car purchased came with a two-year warranty at no extra cost. However, the description of selected cars referenced the various lengths of warranties available and stated "All Retail Cars Are Supplied With 3, 12 Or 24 Month Warranties". We considered that therefore contradicted the headline claim. Furthermore, the ad did not state that the warranties were optional purchases.
Because the headline claim implied that all retail cars came with a 24-month warranty at no additional cost, which was not the case, we concluded the claim was misleading.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
Marketing communications must not mislead the consumer by omitting material information. They must not mislead by hiding material information or presenting it in an unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or untimely manner.
Material information is information that the consumer needs to make informed decisions in relation to a product. Whether the omission or presentation of material information is likely to mislead the consumer depends on the context, the medium and, if the medium of the marketing communication is constrained by time or space, the measures that the marketer takes to make that information available to the consumer by other means. (Misleading advertising) and 3.9 3.9 Marketing communications must state significant limitations and qualifications. Qualifications may clarify but must not contradict the claims that they qualify. (Qualification).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Abbey Court Car Sales Ltd to ensure claims made clear that the available warranty lengths varied and were optional purchases.