Summary of Council decision:
Three issues were investigated, all of which were Upheld.
A website for AnyJunk, seen on 16 September 2019, featured a section on the home page titled "Why AnyJunk?", underneath which were the claims "UK's largest collection network" and “Save CO2 emissions”. A further page was titled “Join the UK’s largest waste carrier network …”.
Clearabee Ltd challenged whether the following claims:
1. "UK's largest collection network" and “… the UK’s largest waste carrier network” were misleading and could be substantiated;
2. were verifiable; and
3. “Save CO2 emissions” was misleading and could be substantiated.
1., 2. & 3. AnyJunk Ltd said they were unable to provide evidence to substantiate the claims that they were the “UK’s largest collection network” and “… the UK’s largest waste carrier network”. In relation to the claim “Save CO2 emissions”, they said their service cut miles travelled per collection, which in turn reduced CO2 emissions. They said they would remove all three claims from their advertising.
1. & 2. Upheld
While the ASA welcomed AnyJunk’s assurance they would remove the claims “UK’s largest collection network” and “… the UK’s largest waste carrier network” from their advertising, we were concerned that they were substantially similar to claims AnyJunk had previously told us would not appear again.
We considered the claims would generally be interpreted by consumers to mean that AnyJunk had the largest market share, in terms of turnover, in the waste carrier network sector of private companies that collected substantial amounts of rubbish from residential properties and businesses, which we understood was the primary nature of AnyJunk’s business. Because AnyJunk were unable to provide any substantiation for the claims, we concluded they were misleading.
Additionally, the CAP Code required that “comparisons with identifiable competitors are verifiable”. We considered that meant an ad which featured a comparison with an identifiable competitor or competitors needed to include, or direct a consumer to, sufficient information to allow them to understand the comparison, and be able to check the claims were accurate, or ask someone suitably qualified to do so. In the absence of that information, we did not consider the ad allowed consumers or competitors to verify the comparative claims and therefore concluded they breached the Code.
On that point, the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation), 3.33, 3.34, and 3.35 (Comparisons with identifiable competitors).
We considered consumers would understand the claim “Save CO2 emissions” to mean that the services provided by AnyJunk resulted in lower CO2 emissions than comparable services provided by their competitors. While we welcomed AnyJunk’s assurance they would remove the claim from their advertising, because AnyJunk were unable to provide any substantiation for the claim, we concluded that it was misleading.
On that point, the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation), 3.33, 3.34 (Comparisons with identifiable competitors), 11.1 and 11.3 (Environmental claims).
The ad must not appear again in the form complained about. We told AnyJunk Ltd to ensure they held substantiation for claims made in their future marketing communications, and that comparisons with identifiable competitors made in their advertising were verifiable.