A radio ad for British Gas Homecare boiler cover. A male voice stated, "Boiler breakdowns mean frosty bedrooms, icy showers and unexpected bills that cause a nasty chill too. But you can call on the British Gas team, as many times as you need, with our boiler cover. From just £16 a month. Parts and labour are included, there's an annual service and now, for a limited time only, when you buy Homecare online you'll get a high street giftcard worth up to £40. Search 'British Gas Homecare' today. Conditions and exclusions apply."
The complainant, who understood that an excess of between £50 and £99 applied to call-outs, challenged whether the ad was misleading because it did not include this information.
British Gas Services Ltd said that their £16 per month version of boiler and controls cover with an annual service had no excess, and that this was why it was not mentioned in the ad. They said that some versions of their boiler cover did carry an excess of £50 or £99, but that these were priced at £12.50 and £9.50 per month respectively. They explained that the phrase "from £16" was used because £16 applied only to customers outside of the M25, and that prices within the M25 were slightly higher to reflect the additional cost of fulfilling those jobs.
The RACC said that they had ascertained all terms and conditions prior to clearing the ad, and that they endorsed the advertiser's response.
We acknowledged that British Gas provided versions of their boiler cover service which included an excess charge for call outs. However, we noted that they also provided a version with no excess starting at £16 per month, and that the ad only mentioned services from this price. Because the package with the price given in the ad did not require customers to pay an excess we concluded that the ad did not breach the Code through the omission of material information.
We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules
Advertisements must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
Advertisements must not mislead consumers 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 consumers need in context to make informed decisions about whether or how to buy a product or service. Whether the omission or presentation of material information is likely to mislead consumers depends on the context, the medium and, if the medium of the advertisement is constrained by time or space, the measures that the advertiser takes to make that information available to consumers by other means. (Misleading Advertising), 3.10 3.10 Advertisements must state significant limitations and qualifications. Qualifications may clarify but must not contradict the claims that they qualify. and 3.11 3.11 Qualifications must be presented clearly.
BCAP has published Guidance on Superimposed Text to help television broadcasters ensure compliance with rule 3.1 3.1 Advertisements must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. . The guidance is available at:
http://www.cap.org.uk/~/media/Files/CAP/Help%20notes%20new/BCAP_Advertising_Guidance_Notes_1.ashx (Qualification), but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary