A paid-for Google Ad for plumbers Rightio, seen on 10 June 2020, stated "No Call Out Charge".
IssueThe complainant, who understood a minimum charge of £100 per hour applied to all call-outs, challenged whether the claim "No Call Out Charge" was misleading.
ResponseRightio Ltd said they did not have a minimum fee of £100 per hour for call-outs. Their terms and conditions stated “Please note that we will charge for any time spent by our engineer diagnosing the work to be carried out” which they said was an example of what could happen on a call-out rather than what would happen. They said prices quoted to consumers covered the diagnosis of a problem and the first hour’s labour to complete any necessary work. If no fault was found and no work completed, or if the work was outside of the engineer’s purview, no charge would be incurred.
The ASA considered consumers would interpret the claim “No Call Out Charge” to mean that Rightio did not charge for the initial diagnosis of a problem. We considered that, unless consumers could decline work without incurring a cost, advertisers who made the claim "No Call Out Charge" should not generally charge for an initial diagnosis.
We noted Rightio’s response that the figure of £100 was an example given in their terms and conditions rather than a minimum charge. However, we also noted that Rightio, and in their terms and conditions, stated they would charge consumers for any time spent by an engineer diagnosing a problem. They were, however, silent on whether consumers would be charged if a problem was diagnosed but no work completed once a quote for fixing the problem had been provided. Because Rightio had not shown that consumers could decline work without incurring a cost for diagnosing the problem, we understood that it was their policy to charge a call-out fee.
We therefore concluded the claim “No Call Out Charge” was misleading. The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. (Misleading advertising).
The ad must not appear again in the form complained about. We told Rightio Ltd to ensure that their future marketing communications did not mislead by stating a call-out charge did not apply where consumers were charged for diagnostic work carried out by their engineers.