A website for AnyJunk, www.anyjunk.co.uk, a waste disposal company,seen on 27 July 2018 featured the claim “UK’s largest operator” under the heading 'Why AnyJunk?’. The claim was repeated in the same terms in a video further down the page. An asterisk next to the claim led to a page that stated “AnyJunk was ranked largest operator by sales in the ‘UK Man & Van Rubbish & Bulky Waste Collection 2018 Report’ produced by Plimsoll, the market research agency. For full details contact www.plimsoll.co.uk”.
The complainant challenged whether the claim "UK's largest operator" was misleading and could be substantiated.
AnyJunk Ltd provided a copy of the report prepared by Plimsoll, which they believed substantiated the claim that they were the largest business of their type in the UK.
The ASA considered that the claim “AnyJunk is the UK’s largest operator” would generally be interpreted by consumers to mean that AnyJunk had the largest market share, in terms of turnover, in the waste management sector of private companies that collected substantial amounts of rubbish from residential properties and businesses, which we understood was the nature of AnyJunk’s business.
The Plimsoll report included a page titled ‘THE TOP 7 COMPANIES BY MARKET SHARE’, that showed AnyJunk ranked first with sales of £9.2m. A section in the appendices of the report indicated that none of AnyJunk’s competitors had been left out of the analysis.
We understood that not all companies reported sales data to Companies House and that where necessary, Plimsoll had used a methodology – included in the appendices to the report – to estimate turnover based on information that was available about each business listed with Companies House. We considered that although the rankings in the report were estimates, they indicated that AnyJunk had a clear lead over its closest competitor in terms of turnover. In the absence of any evidence that a competitor with a larger turnover might conceivably have been omitted from the report, or that the actual turnover of any of the businesses for which estimates had been made might be so much larger than the estimated figures that it might surpass AnyJunk, we concluded that AnyJunk’s claim to be the “UK’s largest operator” had been substantiated and was unlikely to mislead.
We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. (Misleading advertising), 3.7 3.7 Before distributing or submitting a marketing communication for publication, marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove claims that consumers are likely to regard as objective and that are capable of objective substantiation. The ASA may regard claims as misleading in the absence of adequate substantiation. (Substantiation) and 3.33 3.33 Marketing communications that include a comparison with an identifiable competitor must not mislead, or be likely to mislead, the consumer about either the advertised product or the competing product. (Comparisons with identifiable competitors), but did not find a breach.
No further action necessary