HPI have had an advert banned by the Advertising Standards Authority over its claims that it was "the most trusted and reliable car history check".
The ASA ruled that the claim within the advertisement, which appeared when visitors to on HPI’s own its own www.hpicheck.com website hovered over the words “trusted and reliable”, was impossible for potential customers to verify given the information available on the site.
HPI’s online background for the statement said: “Based on independent market research with 464 responses across all vehicle history check providers. HPI rated number one for trustworthiness and reliability. October 2015.”
The ASA also ruled against a similar pop-up in the 'Why you need a Car History Check' section further down the web page.
It stated "A hidden past? ... Rightful owner? ... False identity? ... Clocked? ... Damaged goods? ... Only the HPI Check will protect you against all these risks".
Experian Ltd, who approached the ASA to challenge the ad, said that its own service also protected consumers against the listed risks.
HPI Ltd stated that they commissioned a third-party consultancy company to run a brand study in order to understand the position of HPI within the vehicle history check (VHC) market.
It provided a copy of the survey that was used as part of the brand study, the survey results and an analysis of the results and explained that the claim in the ad had been based on the survey results to the question “Which of the following words do you associate each of these brands with?”
HPI also explained to the ASA that in comparison to their competitors, they carried out additional checks as part of their service by obtaining further details from customers about the logbook, and conducting manual checks to ensure that the document had not been stolen and that it was the most recent version.
The ASA said in its ruling that it “understood that the claim was based on survey results that were not published or accessible in the public domain. The CAP Code, however, requires that comparisons with identifiable competitors are verifiable.”
Ordering that the advert not be used in the future, however, the ASA added: “We told HPI to ensure that they did not make claims that implied that they were the most trusted and reliable VHC provider and that they were the only provider who would protect customers against specific risks associated with the purchase of second-hand vehicles, unless they held adequate comparative evidence to substantiate those claims. We also told HPI that they must ensure that they provided sufficient verification information when making comparative claims.”