Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland releases latest Complaints Bulletin

18 advertisements found to be in breach of the ASAI Code on grounds relating to

Misleading Advertising, Promotion and Recognisability

 The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland’s (ASAI) independent Complaints Committee has released its latest Complaints Bulletin, which contains 18 case reports on complaints recently investigated by the organisation.

18 of the 19 advertisements were found to have been in breach of the ASAI Code on grounds relating to Misleading Advertising, Promotion and Health & Beauty. The advertisements complained of related to Email, Social Media, Online, Direct Mail, Television and Print advertising. One of those upheld related to an intra industry / interested party complaint. The ASAI Complaints Committee chose not to uphold one consumer complaint.

The Complaints Committee is a completely independent arm of the ASAI and is responsible for considering and dealing with complaints submitted by the public, by a member of the ASAI, by a Government Department or any other person or body of persons. The Committee is made up of a range of experts from the advertising, media, education, consumer and marketing sectors. See further details here – http://www.asai.ie/about-us/complaints-committee

Commenting on the latest ASAI rulings, Orla Twomey, Chief Executive of the ASAI, stated: 

The latest complaints bulletin from the ASAI illustrates our ability to handle complaints across a large number of mediums. The ASAI is committed to protecting consumers in relation to advertising – across all mediums – and our approach is to work with all advertisers to ultimately ensure that all marketing communications are legal, truthful, decent and honest.” 

Professor Bairbre Redmond, Independent Head of the Complaints Committee of the ASAI, says:

“Over the past few years, the Complaints Committee, comprised of independent and industry members, has dealt with a broad range of complaints. The Complaints Committee has also spent considerable time highlighting awareness in relation to advertising best practice within the advertising industry, ensuring all relevant parties are equipped with the knowledge and resources to correctly identify commercial marketing content across their platforms.” 

Below is a list of complaints that have been found to be in breach of the ASAI Code:

 

Company/Organisation Complaint Category Further Details
 

Therapie Clinic

 

Principles/Misleading

Two complaints were received. One complainant said that she considered the advertisement to be misleading as the treatments offered at one cent only applied if a course of six sessions was also booked. Another complainant said that she received a text message advertising the campaign. She said when she rang to inquire about the offer she was told that it only applied to the purchase of another qualifying product, as per the terms and conditions. She said the text message gave the impression that the sale was a standalone offer.

 

In breach of section 2.4©, 3.10, 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10 and 4.22 of the code.

 

Complaint Upheld

Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/health-beauty-24/

ieDepot Principles/Misleading The complainant considered offering customers 5% back on purchases if they provided a 5-star review on products to be essentially paying for good reviews.

 

In breach of section 3.10, 4.1, 4.4 and 4.6 of the code.

 

Complaint Upheld

Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/online-retailer-2/

 

eir Principles/Misleading The complainant signed up to an eir Mobile bill pay plan and chose the Samsung S8 Plus as his phone. He waited four days for the phone to arrive and telephoned eir to see where it was. He was advised that the phone was out of stock and had been out of stock for some time. The complainant made further enquiries with eir’s webchat facility who advised him that the phone was in stock, contradicting the information received by telephone, however, he again telephoned eir and was again advised that the phone was out of stock. In the circumstances the complainant considered that the online advertising was misleading as the phone was not marked as being ‘out of stock’

 

In breach of section 3.10, 4.1, 4.4, 4.27, 4.28 (a), (b) and 4.29 of the code.

 

Complaint Upheld

Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/telecommunications-67/

eir Principles/Misleading The complainant considered that the results of the eir fibre coverage map for her address were misleading as she was advised by eir that fibre was not available at her address.

In breach of section 3.10, 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10 and 4.28 (a) of the code.

Complaint Upheld

Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/telecommunications-broadband-4/

eir Principles/Misleading The complainant considered that the advertised price promotion of €40 off the phone was misleading as the price of the phone for the plan that they were interested in, Select 1GB, had been priced at €99 for the past number of months, even after the promotion went live.

 

In breach of section 3.10, 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10 and 5.5 of the code.

 

Complaint Upheld

Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/telecommunications-68/

Volkswagen Bank Misleading The complainant received the mailing and brochure in the post and noted the advertised APR of 1.9% for a new Touran.  The complainant said that their last three cars were Tourans and they were aware of the importance of obtaining a low APR.  After ordering their Touran, the complainant noted that their hire purchase agreement included an APR rate of 3.9%.  After querying the matter with Volkswagen, he was told that he was being charged the correct interest rate and that the lower rate only applied to selected models. The complainant considered that the direct mailing and brochure were misleading as they had not included any reference to a higher APR rate of 3.9% being charged which, in his case, would have amounted to a price difference of over €1,200.

 

In breach of section 2.4 ©, 4.1, 4.4, 4.6, 4.9 and 4.10 of the code.

 

Complaint Upheld

Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/motoring-25/

eir Misleading The complainant viewed the offer and as an existing eir broadband customer he signed up to a SIM only mobile plan. After signing up he noted that his broadband contract had been extended from 12 to 18 months and that the price of his broadband plan had increased by €21 per month. As there had been no reference to the term and price of an existing broadband plan being changed, the complainant considered that the advertising was misleading.

 

In breach of sections 2.4 ©, 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, and 4.10 of the code.

 

Complaint Upheld

Link:

https://www.asai.ie/complaint/telecommunications-70/

Sherborough Enterprises Misleading The complainant considered that the correct address for the properties was Dublin 8 and that advertising the properties’ location as Dublin 2 was misleading

 

In breach of sections 4.1 and 4.4 of the code.

 

Complaint Upheld

Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/property-7/

Bia Belle Beauty Misleading Four complaints were received regarding the advertising. The complainants objected to the claim that the mink lashes were ‘cruelty-free’ on the grounds that it was not possible that hair obtained from a mink, a wild animal, could be ‘cruelty-free’ as it was being caged. One complainant referred to the fact that the lashes were imported from China where animal cruelty laws did not compare to those in the EU. One complainant objected to the description of the “Lolly” lashes as faux mink when the advertisers had stated in a conversation on Instagram that the “Lolly” lashes were mink.

 

In breach of section 4.1, 4.4, 4.9 and 4.10 of the code.

 

Complaint Upheld

Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/health-beauty-25/

AIB Misleading The complainant considered that the claim that the rate applied to every existing AIB customer was misleading as he was a buy to let mortgage holder and could not avail of the lower rate and this had not been mentioned in the advertisement.

 

In breach of sections 4.1 and 4.4 of the code.

 

Complaint Upheld

Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/financial-9/

 

Ben Dunne Gym Misleading The complainant considered that the radio advertisement was misleading as it did not make any reference to a joining fee that applied to monthly memberships. The complainant had noted the reference to terms and conditions applying in the advertisement, however, he considered that the advertisement should have specifically mentioned that a joining fee applied.

 

In breach of sections 4.1, 4.4, and 4.23 of the code.

 

Complaint Upheld

 

Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/leisure-14/

eir Misleading/Promotions The complainant considered that the advertising was misleading as he was unaware that the advertised bundle had a contract length of two years. He considered that the impression created by the advertising was that the bundle had a contract length of 1 year. The complainant also stated that, following the link in the advertisement, he had been unable to identify the bundle until contacting the advertiser who advised him that the contract length was for 2 years.

 

In breach of sections 4.1, 4.4 and 5.5 of the code.

 

Complaint Upheld

Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/telecommunications-69/

Andrew Beatty Fitness Misleading/Slimming The complainant considered that the advertisers had copied the content of his advertising from another source, including the ‘before’ and ‘after’ images of clients.  The complainant considered that the portrayal of the images implied that the advertisers had trained the people featured and was responsible for the results they had achieved

 

In breach of sections 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10 and 4.17 of the Code.

 

Complaint Upheld

Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/health-beauty-26/

UK Direct Shop Misleading/Health & Beauty and Slimming The complainant considered that the advertisers were making claims without any medical evidence and that the advertising was preying on the vulnerable as he considered it was an expensive product

 

In breach of section 11.1 of the Code.

 

Complaint Upheld

Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/health-beauty-27/

Nature and Harmony Misleading/Health and Beauty The complainant challenged the claims that breast massage could reduce the risk of breast cancer, increase breast size and prevented sagging. She considered that the claims had no scientific basis and could not be supported.

In breach of section 11.1 of the Coe.

 

Complaint Upheld

Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/health-beauty-28/

Showtime Essential Kitchen Products Promotions The complainant considered that the advertised competition had not been administered correctly as, after entering the competition by posting a photograph and liking and sharing the advertisers’ page as required, they noted that the winner had not been announced by the date referred to in the advertisement and that when the winner was finally announced, it appeared they had not entered the competition correctly as they had not uploaded a photograph, nor commented on the post. The complainant also said that it appeared the winner followed the advertisers’ own personal profile. The complainant referred to a comment by the advertisers that the winner had been picked from all their entries which had consisted of followers and likes and that they would post a picture of the winner in the restaurant concerned in due course.

In breach of sections 5.5, 5.18, 5.36 and 5.37 of the Code.

Complaint Upheld.

Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/household-7/

 

The ASAI upheld complaints made by Intra Industry / Interested Parties in the following cases:

 

Company/Organisation Complaint Category Further Details
Smovey Health Safety/Misleading/Health & Beauty A physiotherapist who works in private practice has objected to various advertisements for Smovey Health. They believe the website was misleading in terms of what they claimed Smovey Health could cure.

In breach of sections 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10, 11.1 and 11.5 of the Code.

Complaint was upheld in part

Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/health-beauty-29/

MyRefund.ie Misleading Ryanair made five complaints, objecting to the advertisement on the grounds that it was misleading in not acknowledging its customers’ prior means of seeking redress directly with the airline, gave the impression that MyRefund’s service was more beneficial than it was, that it did not indicate any compensation payable would be net of VAT, and that it was inducing consumers to breach terms previously agreed with Ryanair.

In breach of sections 4.1, 4.2 and 4.4 of the Code.

Two of the five complaints were upheld and a third was upheld in part.

Link:

https://www.asai.ie/complaint/financial-10/

 

 

The following complaint was investigated and following investigation, the ASAI Complaints Committee did not uphold the complaint. The complaint was made by a consumer party:

 

Company/Organisation Complaint Category Further Details
Diageo Alcoholic Drinks The complainant objected to the scenes featuring young people at the beach and drinking alcohol at the picnic table. They said that per the ASAI Code it was wrong to feature the consumption of alcohol with any activity relating to water.

 

The executive challenged weather the advertisement complied with Sections 9.1, 9.5 (a) and (b), 9.8 (a) (f) and (g) of the Code.

 

Complaint Not Upheld

 

Link:

https://www.asai.ie/complaint/alcohol-21/

 

 

The ASAI conducts ongoing monitoring of advertising across all media and since 2007, has examined over 27,000 advertisements, with an overall compliance rate of 98 per cent. The ASAI Monitoring Service monitors compliance with the Complaints Committee’s adjudications.

Media members are reminded that advertisements found to be in breach of the Code cannot be accepted for publication.

www.asai.ie 

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