The Advertising Standards Agency has investigated a company and decided it was guilty of breaches to the ASA codes. Specifically it had misleading advertising, artificial “close by” dates and concerns regarding their “free” offers. Yet it is not clear which company they mean!
As a respected body to adjudicate on advertising standards, surely it is not too much to ask that the ASA themselves make it clear which company they have reviewed? That way consumers are protected from the organisation in question, and not confused by other companies with similar names. Otherwise what’s the point?
Take for instance the recent case in Scotland. On 3rd August following two complaints, the ASA upheld the complaints on 3 issues on case number A16-334084 and ruled that;
“The ads must not appear again in their current form” and that “their closing dates for future promotions must not be extended unless circumstances outside their reasonable control made it unavoidable.” Furthermore, “they must ensure that they do not describe a product as “free” unless that was the case and that the basis of their price comparisons were made sufficiently clear and supported with robust evidence”.
Misleading advertising, which company is it?
Well they refer to the company as The UPVC Company Block 1, Etna Industrial Estate Craigneuk Wishaw Lanarkshire ML2 7XQ. Only there is no such incorporated company!
Now The UPVC Company could be the trading name of a sole trader in which case it would not be registered at company house. If that’s the case it would be well worth the ASA saying, “Mr X, trading as The UPVC Company” so that consumers can be suitably alert to the questionable selling practices of “Mr X” and other companies with similar names, could be protected.
As neither have complied with the law by disclosing the company name or registration number on the site, it is difficult to determine if these websites are related or entirely separate from each other.
Lets assume they are not connected.
Surely one would seek to distance itself from the other especially if one was guilty of misleading advertising. Hence the ASA must be clear with the actual name of the company concerned, so as to avoid any innocent companies with similar names being wrongly accused or consumers being confused further.
However the first of these sites displays a logo with The UPVC Company.
The UPVC Company recognises the importance of protecting the personal information and the privacy of data provided by you (and that which may personally identify you) which we collect when you use the UPVC Company website and the services offered on the Website referred to in this policy as ‘Personal Data’.
Only there’s no company listed at company house called, UPVC Company Home Improvements Limited, either!
However, there have been three companies registered at Etna Industrial Estate, Craigneuk, Wishaw, Lanarkshire, ML2 7XQ, two of which have ceased trading, namely;
- UPVC COMPANY (SCOTLAND) LTD registered number SC360600 formed 03/06/2009 and dissolved on 24/10/2014
- THE UPVC DOOR AND WINDOW COMPANY LTD registered number SC343837 formed 04/06/2008 also dissolved on 24/10/2014
And a third which was incorporated well before either of the two above, namely;
- UPVC DOOR COMPANY LIMITED registered number SC277814 formed 23/12/2004 and is still trading.
We have no idea if or how these companies are in anyway related. The only known connection is that they each operate from the same address. As the ASA case for misleading advertising relates to a business earlier this year, it suggests it is the latter company, the UPVC DOOR COMPANY LIMITED which is in breach; however it would be so much simpler if they made this clear in their communications.
Although we have yet to receive any reviews about this company one review web site has just 12% recommending the company, with 38 of the 49 reviews rating them with just 1 star service, read more here http://www.reviewcentre.com/reviews230805.html
If you wish to read the full ASA findings, you can follow this link