Summary of Council decision:
Two issues were investigated, both of which were Upheld.
The website for Complete Energy Europe www.completeenergyeurope.com, a central heating system provider, seen on 27 April 2016, stated "gRAD heats up to the required temperature quickly, using up to 70% less energy compared with conventional central heating systems ... UP TO 70%* Energy efficient versus conventional central heating ... 100% Of the electrical energy used by the gRAD system is converted into heat resulting in a highly efficient, cost-reducing heating solution".
The complainant challenged whether the following claims were misleading and could be substantiated:
1. "using up to 70% less energy compared with conventional central heating systems" and "UP TO 70%* Energy efficient versus conventional central heating", and
2. "100% Of the electrical energy used by the gRAD system is converted into heat resulting in a ... cost-reducing heating solution".
Complete Energy Europe Ltd did not respond to the ASA's enquiries.
1. & 2. Upheld
The ASA was concerned by Complete Energy Europe's lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of the CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.7 1.7 Any unreasonable delay in responding to the ASA's enquiries will normally be considered a breach of the Code. (Unreasonable delay). We reminded them of their responsibility to respond promptly to our enquiries and told them to do so in future.
We considered that consumers would understand the claims "using up to 70% less energy compared with conventional central heating systems" and "UP TO 70%* Energy efficient versus conventional central heating" to mean that the gRAD system used up to 70% less energy than conventional central heating systems and the claim "100% Of the electrical energy used by the gRAD system is converted into heat resulting in a ... cost-reducing heating solution" to mean that, because it converted all electricity used into heat, it would be cheaper to run than other systems. However, we saw no evidence to support those claims. We therefore concluded that they had not been substantiated and were misleading.
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), 3.7 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).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Complete Energy Europe Ltd not to claim that the gRAD system was 70% more efficient than other central heating systems or that it reduced costs unless they held evidence to substantiate those claims. We referred the matter to CAP's Compliance team.