A claim on iSwegway.com’s Facebook page, seen on 12 October 2016, stated “The UK’s largest online Swegway retailer”.
The complainant challenged whether the claim was misleading and could be substantiated.
Deltasourcing Traders Ltd trading as iSwegway.com provided statistics showing the number of visits to their website during 28 days between December 2016 and January 2017, compared to those of four of their competitors. The statistics showed more visits to iSwegway.com than the other websites.
The ASA considered consumers would interpret the claim “The UK’s largest online Swegway retailer” to be a comparison with other online Swegway retailers selling to the UK market. We considered it was not clear from the claim what that comparison was based on (for example, turnover, product range, sales, etc.), but considered it was nonetheless unlikely that consumers would interpret it to relate to the popularity of the website, and therefore that the data relating to the number of visits to the website was not sufficient to support the claim made in the ad.
Notwithstanding that, even if the claim had clearly related to the popularity of the advertiser’s website, we considered that because the statistics related to the number of website visits rather than to unique visitors to the website, and because it was not clear where those statistics originated from or if they were independently verified, they would not be sufficient to support such a claim.
We concluded the claim “The UK’s largest online Swegway retailer” was likely to mislead consumers because it did not make clear the basis of the comparison, and because the evidence provided was not sufficient to support any likely consumer interpretation of that claim.
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 Deltasourcing Traders Ltd t/a iSwegway.com to remove the claim “The UK’s largest online Swegway retailer” from their advertising, and not to use similar claims in future unless they made clear the basis of the comparison and held adequate evidence to support it.