Summary of Council decision:Two issues were investigated, both of which were Upheld.
A website and a downloadable pdf document for Boss Babes Uni, a beauty training course provider, seen on 21 February 2019:
a. The website www.bossbabesuni.com, featured text which stated "Boss Babes Uni Good Quality Advanced Training" and "We are Boss Babes Uni, an advanced training company who train unique beauty courses across the UK". An image of a mortarboard and scroll featured at the bottom of the page.b. The downloadable pdf document featured text which stated "Qualification: Anti-Wrinkle Injections and Dermal Fillers ... This is our amazing 3 day course medics and non medics. Pre course requirement's [sic] are on the therapists merit, usually the insurance will require at least level 3 a and p vtct, full beauty level 3, or semi permanent make up artist".
The Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP), who believed the training courses did not conform to their own standards, challenged whether the following were misleading:
1. the claims “Good Quality Advanced Training” and “an advanced training company who train unique beauty courses across the UK” in ad (a); and2. the claim “Qualification: Anti-Wrinkle Injections and Dermal Fillers” in ad (b).
1. Boss Babes Uni said they ensured all their teachers were industry professionals and had a substantial amount of experience and subject knowledge. They said they offered unique courses across the UK.
2. Boss Babes Uni said their anti-wrinkle injection and dermal filler courses were fully accredited by the CPD Certification Service and gave students CPD points upon completion. They said both courses were run by fully qualified medics. If students failed, they were deemed incompetent and were invited to resit until they reached the necessary standard. Boss Babes Uni said they worked with their insurance providers who advised them of the minimum qualifications for students to be trained and provided a copy of a document from the insurers which detailed the requirements needed for insurance.
They also provided screenshots of online conversations they had had with prospective students asking for their credentials and a Facebook post from someone who had studied with them, which stated that they had registered with Safe Faces. Boss Babes Uni said they were in the process of creating their own register for training academies.
1. & 2. Upheld
The ASA considered that prospective students seeking to pursue a career in beauty therapy would expect the claims "Good Quality Advanced Training”, “an advanced training company who train unique beauty courses across the UK” and “Qualification: Anti-Wrinkle Injections and Dermal Fillers” to mean that by completing the course they would be given the knowledge and skills needed to begin administering anti-wrinkle injections and dermal filler professionally. As such, we considered that the ad should have provided them with the information they needed to make an informed decision as to whether or not to enquire further about enrolling on the course.
We noted that on their web page entitled “Choosing who will do your cosmetic procedure”, the NHS advised patients they could check if medical professionals were listed on relevant statutory or voluntary registers, including the JCCP’s register, which informed patients that practitioners met set standards of training, insurance and skill.
The page also gave advice specifically to patients seeking dermal filler, advising them to ask the practitioner what qualifications, training and experience they had and to avoid practitioners who had only completed a short training course in their chosen procedure as complications could be serious, including infection, nerve damage and blindness.
We considered that prospective students might have been unfamiliar with the advice given by the NHS, but that such information was likely to impact on prospective patients’ choice of practitioner. In that context, we considered that ads for training courses that were intended to provide students with qualifications relevant to the administration of beauty treatments such as anti-wrinkle injections and dermal filler should have provided information on: the requirements for acceptance onto the course; the nature and duration of the training; the qualification that would be attained; and whether the qualification met the standards necessary for admittance onto a relevant professional register. We considered that information to be material because it gave students an indication of the likelihood of the course giving them the knowledge and skills required to safely carry out the procedures independently.
We noted the Facebook post of the graduate student sent by the advertiser, but did not consider to be robust evidence that graduates of the advertised course were eligible for registration on a relevant professional register (the post referred to membership of an organisation called Safe Faces, which was not the same as Save Face, a register accredited by The Professional Standards Authority which did not accredit beauty therapists). The information from the insurance providers stated that the requirements for non-medics to be suitably insured to carry out such procedures required either an NVQ Level 3 in General Beauty, VTCT Level 3 in Anatomy & Physiology with six months experience in medical needling or a medical degree with no Medical Council Registration and with twelve months’ experience of medical needling. Medics required a Medical Council Registration.
Ad (b) stated “This is our amazing 3 day course for medics and non-medics. Pre course requirement's [sic] are on the therapists merit, usually the insurance will require at least level 3 a and p vtct, full beauty level 3, or semi permanent make up artist".
The ad therefore implied that there was no minimum requirement for entry onto the course, but that prospective students were made aware that they would need an existing qualification to obtain appropriate insurance. As such, it was unclear to prospective students exactly what was required to enrol and we considered that based on how the ad was presented, consumers may have sought to sign up despite not having the required qualifications. Because the ads omitted the material information referred to above, we concluded they were likely to mislead.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 and 3.3 (Misleading advertising).
The ad must not appear again in the form complained of. We told Boss Babes Uni to ensure their future advertising did not omit material information, such as the requirements for acceptance onto the course, the nature of the training, the qualification that would be attained, and whether the qualification met the standards necessary for admittance onto a relevant professional register.