Outfox the Market told to moderate advertising claims – comparison sites ‘not proof’

An energy supplier has been told by the Advertising Standards Agency not to run ads claiming to be the cheapest in the UK, partly because of the limitations of comparison sites.

The ASA told Outfox The Market that it could not make an absolute claim to be the ‘Cheapest energy supplier in the UK’ and the ‘Cheapest green energy supplier in the UK’ because the claims made in advertising did not acknowlege that it was not the case in areas of Scotland because of higher network charges.

But in its ruling ASA also considered whether evidence provided by the complainant in the form of price comparison website searches had weight. It found them wanting as evidence, saying, “We also understood that there were energy providers who did not subscribe to or might chose not to be included in price comparison websites and, therefore, the evidence provided might not represent a full comparison of all energy providers in the UK… we considered that listings from comparison sites would be unlikely to constitute robust, comparative and representative data relevant to all consumers, as required to support absolute, whole market claims.”

Read the full ruling

 

Further reading

Lessons in regulation from ASA

Advertising watchdog dismisses challenge over Friends of the Earth claims on fracking’s climate and water fears

Not a watchdog

Public Accounts Committee: sector regulators are failing consumers

Is it time to re-examine the regulatory model?

BT Solar Ltd censured over misleading ad

 

1 comment for “Outfox the Market told to moderate advertising claims – comparison sites ‘not proof’

  1. October 4, 2019 at 3:07 PM

    Its pretty much impossible to prove a ‘cheapest’ message in energy, as different suppliers will be competitive at different consumption levels even in the same region. PCW sites also have their own way of calculating consumption so will give different results. An independent index, such as the Cielo Index is the only real way to benchmark on a consistent basis.

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