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Servicing Stop 70% off sale advert ‘misleading’, ASA finds

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ordered Servicing Stop to clarify adverts which “misleadingly imply savings” of up to 70% over car maintenance at franchised car retail points.

Online promotions which advertised savings of 60% and 70% during limited period ‘sale’ periods were found to be misleading as the maximum charges used as an example were not charged by the aftersales aggregator, according to a complainant.

Referring to adverts seen on the website back in February 2017 and Easter that year, the ASA published its ruling against Servicing Stop today (January 2).

The ASA said that the February advert had claimed to offer “up to 60% off”, before listing servicing discounts for a Kia Sedona car, with a “full service £114.92” compared to a full price of “£287.30” struck out alongside.

Small text above the reference to the offer stated “Up to 60% off main dealer prices”.

During the Easter period a claim of “70% off” appeared on the site, with a “Full service £114.92” alongside a struck-out full price example of “£383.06”.

Servicing Stop Ltd provided the ASA with evidence of the sale dates and unit sales for the “full” servicing of the Kia Sedona car over a six-month period from August 2016 to March 2017.

The ASA said: “They explained that typically there would be a sale held for seven to ten days within each month.

“They said that they did not consider that their previous sale periods for full services on Kia Sedona’s were relevant to determining the original full price.

“They said that there were significant numbers of services sold at the higher price and that higher prices were offered throughout 2016 and 2017 with short intermittent sales.

However, in its ruling against Servicing Stop, the ASA said that it had considered that consumers would understand the claims “up to 60% off” in and “70% off” to mean that services included in the sale would be discounted by a maximum of 60% or 70% against Servicing Stop’s usual selling price of the full service for the Kia Sedona at the time the ads appeared.

It said: “We noted that ad (a) did contain small text stating that the discount was “off main dealer prices” which was ambiguous, but considered that the overall impression was of a comparison with their own usual prices.

The ASA also said that the significant variation in the prices represented in the advert had “raised questions about whether they did represent a genuine usual selling price for the service”.

In its ruling, the ASA told Servicing Stop Ltd to ensure that future savings claims did not misleadingly imply savings against the usual selling price of the product if that was not the case.

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