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ASA dismisses complaint about WeBuyAnyCar TV advert claims

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The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has dismissed a complaint which questioned WeBuyAnyCar claims that customers usually travelled no more than 15 minutes to a local branch.

A complainant contacted the ASA bemoaning the fact that their nearest branch was 25 miles from their home watching the car buying business’s TV advert which urged potential sellers to “Book an appointment at your local branch, usually no more than 15 minutes away”.

But the ASA dismissed the claim following a detailed response from the Constellation Automotive-owned operation, which revealed WBAC had calculated the average travel time by correlating actual customer data.

Using post codes submitted by customers at the time of gaining a quote for their car, WBAC said it had calculated the average drive time of 13.12 minutes by dividing the aggregate drive time for all sellers =- as indicated by Google Maps – by the total number of sellers.

In a statement detailing its ruling against the complaint, the ASA said: “WBAC said they believed that the average consumer would take a common-sense view of data available to support their claims, appreciating that using the word ‘usually’ indicated that the data had been obtained from actual or prospective WBAC customers.

“They said that they did not believe the average consumer would have assumed that WBAC could have empirically tested every journey time across Great Britain, to arrive at a mathematically precise average time for all UK residents.”

The ASA said that travel data had shown that over 68% of the overall quotes were under 15 minutes’ drive time, which was a notable majority.

In recording its ruling, it said: “The ASA considered that viewers would understand the claim that a local WBAC branch was ‘usually no more than 15 minutes away’ to mean that most prospective customers would be able to drive to a branch within 15 minutes from their home location.”

The ASA has been active in monitoring complaints in automotive adverts in recent months.

In November it dismissed 96 complaints which claimed a Land Rover Defender advert undermined efforts to tackle climate change and ecological damage.

The advert showed a Defender off-road, in a forest setting, alongside the headline “Life is so much better without restrictions”.

Earlier in the month it banned an advert from the Motorway used car marketplace following an allegation that it “encouraged driving behaviour that was dangerous”.

November also saw the ASA reject a complaint from the Scottish Motor Trade Association (SMTA) which contested Cazoo’s claims that the vehicles it offers for subscription were “new cars”.

The ASA rejected the complaint after Cazoo argued that pre-registration had no detrimental effect on its customers under the scope of the vehicle subscription offering.

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