Background

Summary of Council decision:

Two issues were investigated, both of which were Upheld.

Ad description

A website for Montessori Tutors, montessoritutors.co.uk, seen on 30 May 2021, displayed the headline “JOB AS A MONTESSORI TUTOR” with the sub-title “Part-time Job. Train to be a Montessori Tutor & earn up to £55 per hour”. The paragraph below stated “Are you searching for jobs online? Would you like to work from home, be your own boss and set your own hours? If so, you could train to be a Montessori Tutor and work from home as a private online tutor. You will be your own boss, you can set your own hours and earn between £15 - £120 per hour!”.

Issue

The complainant challenged whether the following earnings claims were misleading and could be substantiated:

1. “Train to be a Montessori tutor & earn up to £55 per hour”; and

2. “earn between £15 - £120 per hour”.

Response

1. & 2. Learning Group Ltd t/a Montessori Tutors did not respond to the ASA’s enquiries.

Assessment

1. & 2. Upheld

The ASA was concerned by Montessori Tutors’ lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code (Edition 12) rule  1.7 1.7 Any unreasonable delay in responding to the ASA's enquiries will normally be considered a breach of the Code.  (Unreasonable delay). We reminded them of their responsibility to respond promptly to our enquiries and told them to do so in future.

The ad was a long web page which included several references to the potential earnings of tutors who completed the Montessori training offered by the advertiser. The first claim, at the top of the page, stated that tutors could “earn up to £55 per hour”. The following paragraph stated that tutors could “earn between £15 - £120 per hour”. Further claims included that “Job Earnings” were “Between £20 - £120”, a claim that someone who had trained with the advertiser charged “£150 per student per month”, that “Super Tutors” could “charge up to £120 per hour”, and a graph which showed yearly earnings for online tutors showing a range between “25,500” and “64,000” and a “National Average” of “43,914/year”.

We considered that consumers would expect that the earnings figures stated in the ad would be representative of the earnings they could achieve as a tutor if they completed the training offered via montessoritutors.co.uk and advertised their services via the website. While the ad included claims referring to a broad range of potential earnings, we considered that consumers were likely to expect that most tutors could earn £55 per hour, given that the first claim referenced that figure and because it was roughly at the midpoint in the quoted ranges. We further considered they would expect that the stated highest figures of £120 and £150 per hour did not exaggerate the earnings that could be achieved. We therefore expected to see evidence that substantiated the stated earnings figures for tutors who had trained with and offered their services through Montessori Tutors. However, the advertiser had not provided any evidence to substantiate the claims. In the absence of such evidence, we concluded that the claims had not been substantiated and were therefore misleading.

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),  20.7 20.7 Marketing communications for business opportunities must neither contain unrepresentative or overstated earnings figures nor exaggerate the support available to investors.  (Business opportunities) and  20.9 20.9 Marketing communications for vocational training or other instruction courses must not give a misleading impression about the potential for employment that might follow.
Marketing communications must make clear significant conditions for acceptance onto vocational training or instruction courses, such as the level of attainment, and significant conditions likely to affect a consumer's decision to embark on a course, such as the cost or the duration of a course.
 (Vocational training and instruction courses).

Action

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Learning Group Ltd t/a Montessori Tutors to ensure their ads did not contain unrepresentative or overstated earnings figures, and to ensure they held adequate substantiation for quoted earnings figures. We referred the matter to CAP’s Compliance team.

CAP Code (Edition 12)

1.7     3.1     3.7     20.7     20.9    


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