The full ASA ruling can be viewed online at www.asa.org.uk/ASA-action/Adjudications/2011/1/Rointe/TF_ADJ_49624.aspx. The adjudication followed an investigation into an advert and brochure produced by the Spanish manufacturer, Rointe, after receiving complaints from the trade and members of the public.
The ASA’s ruling said that claims including ‘60 percent energy saving’ and ‘100 percent green energy’ were found to be misleading and unsubstantiated, and must be removed from all future advertising. The manufacturer was also told to remove various references to explosions and safety in relation to gas appliances as they were likely to cause undue fear.
Chris Stammers, marketing director for trade and independents at Dimplex, comments: “This is really good news for consumers, heating specifiers and responsible manufacturers, and we welcome the ASA’s intervention.
“For some time there have been damaging misrepresentations of conventional and established electric heating products in the media from various sources, targeting vulnerable people who can least afford to make a mistake when selecting the right heating system for their needs. As these unsubstantiated claims are stopped, people will once again be able to make a purchase decision based on fact, not fiction.”
The truth is that the heaters which have been the subject of these unsubstantiated efficiency claims can never compete on a like-for-like basis on running costs with storage heaters, which take in energy during the cheaper off-peak period. The electric radiators offered will cost exactly the same to run as any other panel heater of the same rating that has an accurate thermostat.
Chris Stammers continues: “We believe these manufacturers have been practicing the type of short-termism that can only damage the wider industry. The premium-priced products featured in the misleading advertising have doubtless created some healthy profits, but customer complaints are inevitable when the promised efficiencies don’t materialise and consumers realise they could have bought an identically performing product for a fraction of the price.”
From 1 March 2011, the ASA will have additional powers to regulate online advertising, which means consumers will also be protected from misleading claims featured on a company’s website.