Claims on a website for leasing cars, www.lingscars.com, stated "DELOREAN LEASING CHEAP NEW DELOREAN LEASE CONTRACT HIRE. My 1 Delorean DMC-12 Deal". It featured an image of the car and further text stated "Full list of my Delorean DMC-12 deals in price order". A table below provided further details of the car and offered three pricing options "10k £149.99. 15k £167.99. 20k £175.19".
The complainant challenged whether the claims were misleading because, having contacted the advertiser to enquire about leasing the car, they were told that there was no such car available.
Lingscars.com said the listing was a joke and did not believe that anyone would think the car was available new as the DeLorean was discontinued in 1982, over 30 years ago. They said they were a respected car leasing website which supplied over 1,000 cars a year and they had received no complaints before this one.
The ASA noted that the listing was intended as a joke and there was no such car available for lease from Lingscars.com. We noted that the website had cars available for lease and considered that it would not be obvious to all consumers visiting the site that the DeLorean was not also available for lease. We considered that the wording of the listing gave the impression that the car was available for hire, for example "DELOREAN LEASING CHEAP NEW DELOREAN LEASE CONTRACT HIRE", "My DeLorean DMC-12 Deal", "FULL DETAIL AND ORDERING PAGE", "3 year rental", "10,000 miles a year costs... 3 + 35 (This means 3 payments upfront then 35 monthly payments) £149.99 per month, inc VAT", "WHAT'S INCLUDED?... My DeLorean DMC-12 includes Warranty ... When this new DeLorean DMC-12 breaks down, you can get it fixed at a DeLorean garage for free! At least one year AA-type cover ... Full road tax for whole contract ...", "This is a low-cost rental on a Personal Contract Hire form Ling on a New DeLorean DMC-12 ... You don't own the car, you just rent it for 3 years then you just hand back ...".
We considered that although the website referred to the DeLorean as new, some consumers might not have known that the DeLorean had been discontinued and that there was no such thing as a new DeLorean. Furthermore, we understood that a Texan company made custom-built DeLoreans from old stock and reproduction parts and some consumers may have considered the "new" DeLorean for lease was such a car. We considered it was not clear that the listing was a joke.
For these reasons, we considered that the claims were misleading.
The claims breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. (Misleading advertising) and 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).
The claims must not appear again in their current form. We told Lingscars.com to ensure they only advertised cars on their website which were available for hire.