A website for Vivo Clinic, www.vivoclinic.com, seen on 18 October 2020, 16 December 2020 and during January 2021, included the heading “COVID-19 Tests”. Under the sub-heading “PCR Travel Test (in-clinic)” was a list that included the text “Guaranteed results within the chosen time frame or your money back”.
IssueFour complainants, who failed to receive the results of their Covid-19 within their chosen time frame and who did not receive a refund, challenged whether the claim “Guaranteed results within the chosen time frame or your money back” was misleading.
ResponseBlood and Medical Services Ltd t/a Vivo Clinic responded to explain the experience of one of the complainants. They said that their results had to be re-run by the lab, and that their terms and conditions clearly stated that they did not usually process a refund in the event of a re-run.
The ASA considered consumers would understand the claim “Guaranteed results within the chosen time frame or your money back” to mean that consumers would receive their Covid-19 PCR test within the timeframe they had chosen, and if not, they would receive a refund. The CAP Code required that marketing communications must make clear each significant limitation to an advertised guarantee. We noted that there was no information about limitations provided in the ad, and no link to further information.
Vivo Clinic’s terms and conditions stated “We are not responsible for delays in results. We are not responsible for delays in the provision of results arising due to late posting of samples to the laboratory” and “Occasionally a sample may need to be re-run if the original results were inconclusive … Refunds cannot be given for tests that require re-running”. We considered it was not clear in what circumstances a customer would receive a refund in the event that they did not receive their test results within their chosen timeframe. We considered that the significant limitations to the guarantee had not been made clear either in the ad itself, or by directing consumers to the relevant terms and conditions. We therefore concluded the ad was misleading and breached the Code.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. (Misleading advertising), 3.54 3.54 Marketing communications must make clear each significant limitation to an advertised guarantee (of the type that has implications for a consumer's rights). Marketers must supply the full terms before the consumer is committed to taking up the guarantee. and 3.55 3.55 Marketers must promptly refund consumers who make valid claims under an advertised money-back guarantee. (Guarantees and after-sales service).
The ads must not appear again in their current form. We told Blood and Medical Services Ltd t/a Vivo Clinic to ensure that all significant limitations to their guarantee were prominently displayed in future ads which made reference to the guarantee.