Ad descriptionA website, for a plumbing and heating company, www.greenstarcolchester.co.uk, seen on 9 February 2019, stated "Greenstar Powerflushing, Gas, Plumbing and Heating is the only plumbing and service company that has [sic] 100% transparent ... pricing system ...".
IssueThe complainant challenged whether the claim that the company "is the only plumbing and service company that has [sic] 100% transparent ... pricing system ..." was misleading and could be substantiated.
Greenstar Gas, Plumbing and Heating (Greenstar) said a "Three Best" logo was situated next to the claim and related to a rating they had received from a website which had compared what were considered to be the three top plumbers in Colchester – Greenstar and two others. They said the comparison had used a fifty-point inspection system which included local reviews, history, trading standards, ratings, satisfaction, trust, pricing and overall quality.
Greenstar said the other two businesses did not list their prices. On that basis, Greenstar believed their claim that they were the only company with 100% transparent pricing was justified. Greenstar said they checked the two other businesses and the Threebestrated website regularly to ensure that the claim remained valid.
The ASA considered consumers would expect the claim to be based on objective evidence that took into account all relevant competitors and which showed that Greenstar was the only company to have pricing information that was 100% clear with no hidden charges, conditions or similar. We acknowledged that the "Three Best" logo was intended to explain the more limited nature of the claim. However, we considered consumers were unlikely to be aware of the meaning behind the "Three Best" logo and would instead adopt the usual interpretation of the claim – that it referred to a comparison between Greenstar and all relevant competitors.
Because Greenstar did not hold evidence to show the claim was based on a comparison with all relevant competitors, we concluded that it was likely to mislead. The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation) and 3.33 (Comparisons with identifiable competitors).
The ad must not appear again in the form complained of. We told Greenstar Gas, Plumbing and Heating not to make comparative claims in future – for example, in relation to pricing practices – in the absence of adequate evidence.