The homepage of the website for the Nebula fire mist system www.mistfs.co.uk seen on 24 April 2017 featured the claim, "Systems tested in accordance with BS8458:2015." Text on a moving image carousel stated "Designed, installed and certified to current Building regulations - BS8458". On a separate page of the website which featured a comparative table of different fire mist systems, in the column for the Nebula fire system and in the row headed "Compliance with UK Building Regulations", text stated "Tested in accordance with BS8458:2015". Text at the bottom of the webpage stated "N.B. Nebula HPWM, for use in residential properties, is limited to single open spaces of 32m2".
Plumis Ltd challenged whether the claims "tested in accordance with BS8458:2015" and "Designed, installed and certified to current Building regulations - BS8458" were misleading and could be substantiated.
Mist Fire Suppression said that their fire mist system was fully compliant with BS8458:2015, other than the requirement to be capable of operating in a maximum area of 64m² in residential premises. Instead, they said their system complied with BS8458:2015 at a maximum room size of 32m². They supplied a 2017 report by an independent fire safety testing and certification body as evidence. They pointed out that the ad included a qualification which stated that it could only be used in residential properties with a maximum room size of 32m².
The ASA considered that those viewing the website were likely to understand from the claim "tested in accordance with BS8458:2015" and "designed, installed and certified to current Building regulations - BS8458" that the fire mist system was fully compliant with the criteria set out in that British Standard. We noted that text at the bottom of one webpage stated that the system "for use in residential properties, is limited to single open spaces of 32m2". However, that qualification only appeared at the bottom of the web page in a smaller font and did not appear on the home page of the website. We therefore considered that those viewing the website were unlikely to notice the qualification.
The British Standard required that the system should be capable of fully operating in room sizes up to 64m² in residential premises. However, the test report stated that, while the system was able to fully operate in room sizes up to 32m², it was unable to do so in rooms sizes over 32m².
Because those viewing the website were likely to understand that the system was fully compliant with the British Standard, when it was not compliant in residential rooms between 32m² and 64m² as required by the Standard, we concluded that the ad was misleading.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
Marketing communications must not mislead the consumer 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 the consumer needs to make informed decisions in relation to a product. Whether the omission or presentation of material information is likely to mislead the consumer depends on the context, the medium and, if the medium of the marketing communication is constrained by time or space, the measures that the marketer takes to make that information available to the consumer by other means. (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 3.9 3.9 Marketing communications must state significant limitations and qualifications. Qualifications may clarify but must not contradict the claims that they qualify. (Qualification).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Mist Fire Suppression Ltd to make clear that the fire mist system was only compliant with the British Standard in room sizes less than 32m² in residential properties.