ASA raps installer over ‘misleading’ advertising

The Advertising Standards Authority has warned Yorkshire-based installer DCT Electrical over an advertising campaign it deemed to be misleading.

A circular launched on behalf of DCT Electrical, trading as 3 Solar UK, in October 2015 claimed to offer free solar panel installation for domestic users, the benefits of which were advertised as including “free energy for life” and “increased property value”.

The advertising also included the logo of Renewable Energy Assurance Limited (REAL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Renewable Energy Association focused on consumer protection.

REAL complained to the ASA over the use of its logo on the circular stating that it had no connection with 3 Solar UK and challenged the claims made.

In a judgement published on 30 December 2015 the authority noted that the installer had acknowledged the complaint but provided no further response nor defence of the advert.

The ASA said it was “concerned” by the installer’s “apparent disregard” for the advertising code and upheld all three facets of the complaint having judged the advert to have breached rules 3.1, 3.7 and 3.50 of the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) Code.

In its ruling the authority has stated that the circular must not run again in its current form and warned 3 Solar UK that it must hold evidence to substantiate any claims in their advertising, while also warning against the use of the REAL logo without necessary authorisation. The matter has been referred to CAP’s compliance team for future enforcement.