A website for property developers Harron Homes, www.harronhomes.com, seen on 11 May 2017, included a testimonial from a couple who had purchased a property in Harron Homes’ Amberwood Chase development.
The complainant, a resident at Amberwood Chase who did not believe the individuals featured in the testimonial lived at the development, challenged whether the testimonial was genuine.
Harron Homes Ltd’s advertising agency, Unsworth Sugden Group, responded on their behalf and stated that the testimonial featured was genuine. Unsworth Sugden provided a copy of email correspondence between them and the client featured in the ad, which included the wording used in the testimonial, a copy of a property reservation agreement, and an email from Harron Homes’ solicitors confirming the completion of a property sale.
The ASA considered that consumers were likely to expect that the testimonial stated the genuine views of a customer who had purchased a property from Harron Homes. We noted that the email correspondence between Unsworth Sugden and the client featured in the ad contained the agreed wording of the testimonial and their contact details. The supporting evidence - the reservation agreement and the confirmation of completion - included the client’s contact details that corresponded with those in the email containing the testimonial, and also showed that they had purchased a property at the development Amberwood Chase. We therefore considered that Harron Homes held adequate evidence to demonstrate that the testimonial in question was genuine and concluded that the ad was not misleading.
We investigated the ad under 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 3.45 3.45 Marketers must hold documentary evidence that a testimonial or endorsement used in a marketing communication is genuine, unless it is obviously fictitious, and hold contact details for the person who, or organisation that, gives it. (Endorsement and testimonials), but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.