An email from Motorline Toyota Bromsgrove, received on 24 October 2018, was headed "The Motorline Price Fall Event 25th - 29th October 2018. Save up to £6,535 on pre-registered, nearly-new cars". Beneath this was an image of a Toyota C-HR Hybrid, accompanied by text stating "Nearly-new...10 miles...MRRP £28,395 Now £22,491 Save £5,904".
The complainant, who was informed that the advertised car was not available at the stated price at the Bromsgrove branch, challenged whether the ad was misleading.
Motorline Ltd t/a Motorline Toyota Bromsgrove said that they had spoken to the complainant and sold them a car similar to the one they were originally interested in. They did not provide a substantive response to the complaint.
The ASA was concerned by Motorline’s lack of substantive response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.7 (Unreasonable delay). We reminded them of their responsibility to provide a substantive response to our enquiries and told them to do so in future.
The ad featured an image and description of a Toyota C-HR Hybrid, alongside the claim “£28,395 Now £22,491 Save £5,904". The email originated from “Toyota Bromsgrove”, and the address for Motorline Toyota Bromsgrove was listed at the bottom. The ASA considered that recipients would understand that the Toyota C-HR Hybrid model described in the ad was available at the discounted price listed at the Bromsgrove branch.
However, we understood that when the complainant visited the branch the day after receiving the email, they were told that the car in question was not available at the listed price and that not all showrooms were signed up to the offer.
We had not seen evidence to demonstrate that the car had been available at the price listed at the Bromsgrove branch. We therefore concluded that the ad was misleading and breached the Code.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. and 3.3 (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), 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), 3.28 3.28 Marketing communications that quote a price for a featured product must state any reasonable grounds the marketer has for believing that it might not be able to supply the advertised (or an equivalent) product at the advertised price within a reasonable period and in reasonable quantities. In particular: and 3.29 3.29 Marketers must monitor stocks. If a product becomes unavailable, marketers must, whenever possible, withdraw or amend marketing communications that feature that product. (Availability).
The ad must not appear again in the form complained about. We told Motorline Ltd t/a Motorline Toyota Bromsgrove not to advertise vehicles unless they could substantiate that they had been available to purchase.