Claims on the Dyson website for vacuum cleaners, viewed in July 2011, stated "Dyson Cylinders. No bag, no loss of suction".
The complainant challenged whether the claim "No loss of suction" was misleading, because they believed the products would lose suction if the consumer did not take steps to minimise suction loss, such as regular emptying of the machine and cleaning of the filter.
Dyson Ltd (Dyson) said they did not believe the claim was misleading or that material information had been excluded from the ad. They said the "no loss of suction" claim was true at all times for Dyson Cylinder cleaners because they did not lose suction in normal use over multiple bin loadings, not just a single loading of dust as required by the IEC standard. Dyson said their products had been tested in accordance with International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Standard 60312 and their products maintained 'no loss of suction' performance until the bin was full; they would therefore provide the claimed performance when used normally by the consumer. They provided copies of the test results. Dyson said their website contained a multitude of information for consumers to explain how their products worked, and pointed out that consumers had gone to their site to find out about Dyson.
Dyson said they did not believe it was appropriate for the claim to be qualified with reference to maintaining the product in line with the instructions in the user manual, because to do so would imply that some unreasonable or unusual maintenance was required. They said they only recommended washing the filter every few months, and they believed average users might only wash the filter every one or two years. Dyson said maintenance was required for many products in order for them to perform as claimed, or to reduce the possibility that they may not perform as claimed, and they argued that consumers were well aware that claims for product performance were dependent on normal use of the machine and following the instructions for use.
The ASA noted that the test data provided by Dyson showed that their cylinder vacuum cleaners did not lose suction when tested using a methodology equivalent to IEC Standard 60312. We considered that that IEC Standard approximated to how a vacuum cleaner would be used in the home, and was therefore an appropriate test for the measurement of a vacuum cleaner's performance as it was loaded with dust.
We understood that the cyclone products contained filters that collected with dust, which could restrict the airflow of the product if not cleaned, and therefore that the cylinder cleaners might experience a loss of performance if not maintained or used according to the user guidance. We noted that the user instructions for the Dyson cylinders recommended that consumers washed the filter at least once a month, every three months, or every three to six months, depending on the product, and in some cases that filters were replaced every year. However, we considered that consumers would understand that they needed to maintain products in accordance with the user manual to ensure they worked properly. We also considered that consumers would understand that vacuum cleaners required emptying and cleaning in order to work effectively; we considered that the instructions for the maintenance of the Dyson were not particularly onerous for the consumer. We therefore concluded that the claim "No loss of suction" did not require qualification and was not misleading.
We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
Marketing communications must not mislead the consumer 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 the consumer needs to make informed decisions in relation to a product. Whether the omission or presentation of material information is likely to mislead the consumer depends on the context, the medium and, if the medium of the marketing communication is constrained by time or space, the measures that the marketer takes to make that information available to the consumer by other means. (Misleading advertising) and 3.9 3.9 Marketing communications must state significant limitations and qualifications. Qualifications may clarify but must not contradict the claims that they qualify. (Qualification) but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.