A TV ad for Everest featured a number of short scenes showing a front door, windows and a conservatory. On-screen text stated "Lifetime guarantee applies to uPVC windows and doors only. Terms and conditions apply". Larger text at the top of the screen stated "Lifetime guarantee".
A viewer challenged whether the ad was misleading because it did not make clear that the lifetime guarantee applied to the glass only and not to the window as a whole.
Everest said that, in addition to their standard guarantees, a lifetime guarantee applied to sealed units installed in uPVC casement windows, aluminium casement windows, uPVC tilt/turn windows, traditional entrance doors, uPVC entrance doors and aluminium entrance doors. Under that, they would repair (or, at their discretion, replace) any sealed unit which developed condensation or fogging between the glasses of the sealed units as a result of water ingress. The lifetime guarantee also applied to discoloration in standard white uPVC casement and tilt/turn windows and entrance doors, excluding those with woodgrain finishes. They said customers were taken through the details of the lifetime guarantee as part of their sales consultation and that those details appeared in the product specification sheet that a customer was given and on their website. Together with the text the ad already contained, they believed that was sufficient, given the constraints of a 30-second TV ad.
Clearcast endorsed Everest's response. They said the on-screen text "Lifetime guarantee applies to uPVC windows and doors only" reflected the exclusion of woodgrain windows and doors from the guarantee. They acknowledged that there were limitations to what was covered by the lifetime guarantee – hence the inclusion of the on-screen text "Terms and conditions apply" – but considered it covered more than glass alone, in that discoloration was also covered. Because they believed the on-screen text made it clear that only uPVC windows and doors were covered and that further conditions applied, they believed the ad was not misleading and did not omit significant limitations and qualifications from the advertised guarantee.
The ad focused primarily on the 50% off offer but, nevertheless, the reference to the lifetime guarantee was in prominent text. The ASA acknowledged that the lifetime guarantee covered more than just glass but considered that the shots of the front door, windows (which included a prominent shot of the handle) and conservatory, in conjunction with the prominent text which stated "Lifetime guarantee," suggested that all aspects of those products were likely to be covered by the lifetime guarantee. We considered that the qualification "Lifetime guarantee applies to uPVC windows and doors only" made clear that doors and windows that were not uPVC were not covered, but added to the impression that all aspects of uPVC windows and doors were covered. We understood that, in practice, the lifetime guarantee was limited to the sealed glass units and, in many cases, discoloration of the uPVC, but not to other elements of the installation as a whole such as frames, handles and locks. Although we noted that on-screen text stated "Terms and conditions apply", we did not consider that was sufficient to correct the overall impression that all aspects of uPVC doors and windows were covered by the lifetime guarantee. Because of that, we concluded that the ad was misleading.
The ad breached 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. (Qualification) and 3.50 3.50 Advertisements must make clear each significant limitation to an advertised guarantee (of the type that has implications for a consumer's rights). Broadcasters must be satisfied that the advertiser will supply the full terms of the guarantee before the consumer is committed to taking it up.
(Guarantees and after-sales service).
The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form.