A regional press ad for a glazing company stated "wayne-windows.com. Family run since 1975".
The complainant, who understood the company did not start trading until the late 1980s at the earliest, challenged whether the claim was misleading and could be substantiated.
A representative of Wayne Windows said a member of the Wayne family (their father) had first begun working on a self-employed basis in 1975, trading under the name Wayne Windows, and they provided a copy of his working history. Additionally, they explained their mother had worked alongside their father as a secretary/book-keeper for the business. At that time, the business' invoices were prepared by her and used their home address as the business address. Between 1982 and 1984, the three sons began working on a self-employed basis for the business, who also had their invoices prepared and sent by their mother using the home address as the business address.
Wayne Windows said they could not provide invoices dating back to 1975, noting they were only legally required to keep them for 10 years. They said there would have been tax records which showed their father was self-employed at that time and that he received tax relief for their mother, while she worked as the book-keeper/secretary in those early years. Unfortunately, their father's accountants had since passed away and because of that, they were unable to provide any tax records supporting the claim.
However, they provided a copy of their work book, dated from 1989 which demonstrated they had been trading as Wayne Windows. Given the family's history of working within the industry and the role each family member had played in the business, they believed the claim was justified.
The ASA considered consumers were likely to interpret the ad to mean that since 1975, Wayne Windows had been trading as a family business in some form or other on a continued and uninterrupted basis. We noted the advertiser's comments that from 1975 up until 1989, members of the Wayne family had worked for the business, before it was incorporated, but that documentation of this no longer existed. We also noted that they provided evidence to show that the company had been operating in 1989 and was incorporated the following year. Given the nature of the claim and the advertiser, we were satisfied that the claim had been supported and that it would not mislead consumers.
We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. (Misleading advertising) and 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), but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.