The home page of www.custom-neon-sign.co.uk, seen in January 2019, featured various neon sign designs with their prices. Text at the top of the page stated "Based in UK, Free Shipping & Fast Delivery! Uk [sic] Inc, Free Shipping to Europe". Two UK addresses were listed at the bottom of the page.
The complainant, who understood that the advertiser was not based in the UK, challenged whether the ad was misleading.
Person(s) unknown t/a custom-neon-sign.co.uk said they were based in China and had made some changes to the ad.
The ASA noted that there was no registered legal entity behind the website www.custom-neon-sign.co.uk.
The website used a ".co.uk" domain name and stated "Based in UK". Prices were listed in pounds sterling. At the bottom of the page, two UK addresses were presented as the "Office" and "Factory" addresses for the company. However, one of the addresses had an incomplete postcode, and neither of them appeared to correspond to a genuine UK address. The advertiser had confirmed that they were based in China.
We noted that the advertiser had removed the UK addresses and some other references to the UK, but we did not consider that the changes were sufficient to resolve the issue.
Given the above, we considered that the ad omitted the geographical address of the marketer, which was material information. We concluded that the ad was misleading and breached the Code.
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. and 3.4.2 3.4.2 the identity (for example, a trading name) and geographical address of the marketer and any other trader on whose behalf the marketer is acting (Misleading advertising).
The ad must not appear again in the form complained about. We told Person(s) unknown t/a custom-neon-sign.co.uk to ensure they included their geographical address in their marketing, and that they did not state or imply that they were based in the UK if that was not the case.