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Advertising watchdog backs MotorCheck in defending pricing ad against Cap HPI complaint

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Car history check website MotorCheck has successfully defended its advertising against a Cap HPI claim it was misleading.

Motorcheck, operated by Motor Data, ran an ad in January that said ‘Save 40% on car checks’ claiming a minimum saving compared against 20 checks per month with Experian or Cap HPI that month.

Cap HPI objected to the Advertising Standards Agency, questioning whether the claim could be substantiated.

In response to the complaint, MotorCheck said it had used Cap HPI pricing information and supplied a copy of a quotation it had given for a trade service account. It showed the fixed fee and excess rate for five, 10 and 15 checks a month, plus a one-off joining fee and a monthly subscription fee.

The ASA said traders would interpret the ad to mean that, if they ran 20 vehicle checks per month with MotorCheck, they would make a minimum 40% saving compared with running similar checks with HPI.

“We noted that part of the basis of Cap HPI's complaint was the contractual requirement that HPI's customers were not permitted to share details of the cost of HPI's products with competitors,” the ASA said in its judgement rejecting the complaint.

“They therefore questioned how reliable the evidence MotorCheck relied on to support the claim was likely to be.

“We noted, however, that MotorCheck had been sent the pricing information direct from HPI following an anonymous enquiry. We had no reason to think that this would not be a valid reflection of the cost of HPI's products.

“When drawing up the comparison, MotorCheck had taken into account the one-off joining fee charged by Cap HPI (as traders who were not currently with Cap HPI would need to pay it).

“It had incorporated that into the price comparison in the first month and then had listed a separate comparison for the subsequent months in which the joining fee did not need to be paid (as traders would only pay the joining fee once).

“Finally, MotorCheck had calculated the average monthly figure over the course of a year, which took into account the initial month in which the joining fee was paid and the subsequent months. In all of those situations, they had then run further comparisons with and without membership of the National Mileage Register.

“Each of the comparisons showed a saving of more than 40% for MotorCheck against HPI's products. 

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