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ASA Adjudication on GSK (UK) Ltd

GSK (UK) Ltd

Grapes Villa Farm
170 Kenilworth Road
Balsall Common
Coventry
CV7 7EW

Date:

2 November 2011

Media:

Internet (on own site)

Sector:

Leisure

Number of complaints:

1

Complaint Ref:

A11-165909

Ad

A website and three sponsored search links for a material supplier:

 

a. The website stated "With a team of local specialist valuers [sic] having over 40 years [sic] experience, GSK (UK) Ltd has built its reputation on specialising in Great Britain and British Commonwealth material, supplying the very best material to suit all requirements at competitive prices ... Join the hundreds of satisfied clients that have experienced a smooth, hassle free and financially satisfying sale through GSK (UK) Ltd ...".

 

b. The first sponsored link stated "Sell old coins. Top prices paid, instant payment call on ...".

 

c. The second sponsored link stated "Old Gold Sovereigns. Free Valuations & Instant cash...".

 

d. The third sponsored link stated "Selling old coins? Selling A Collection Of Old Coins?  Call us for Top Price & Fast Payment".

 

 

Issue

The complainant, who saw the ads in July 2011, challenged whether:

 

1. the claim "With a team of local specialist valuers [sic] ..." in ad (a) was misleading, because she believed the advertiser worked alone;

 

2. the claim "... hundreds of satisfied clients that have experienced a smooth, hassle free and financially satisfying sale through GSK (UK) Ltd" in ad (a) could be substantiated;

 

3. the claims relating to instant payment, instant cash and fast payment in ads (b), (c) and (d) were misleading, because she had not found this to be the case.

CAP Code (Edition 12)

Response

1. GSK (UK) Ltd (GSK) said they had three employees who valued coins and a receptionist and therefore did not work alone. They also said we had spoken to the receptionist during the investigation and believed this supported the claim.

 

2. & 3. They said they received positive feedback over the telephone from hundreds of their customers.  They sent e-mails to various contacts on 16 August asking "Have you experienced a smooth, hassle free and financially satisfying sale through ourselves and furthermore was payment for the sale of your items prompt and efficient?". They submitted eight responses. They also submitted various documents, including an e-mail sent from GSK, a document relating to the collection and delivery of one item from the e-mail recipient to GSK, a receipt from a bank indicating that £225 in cash was deposited into an account and an activity report document.  They believed these documents substantiated the claim "hundreds of satisfied clients that have experienced a smooth, hassle free and financially satisfying sale through GSK (UK) Ltd" and demonstrated their customers had received their payments promptly.

Assessment

1. Upheld

We noted that, on contacting the advertiser by telephone, we were put through to a member of staff who said she was the receptionist. We also noted GSK said they had three members of staff who valued coins. However, we noted GSK did not send evidence to demonstrate that three individuals connected with the business were suitably qualified valuers and had conducted valuations on their behalf.  We considered that readers would understand the claim "With a team of local specialist valuers [sic] ..." in ad (a) to mean that GSK employed various members of staff who specialised in valuing coins.  In the absence of any documentary evidence to demonstrate that this was the case, we considered the claim had not been substantiated and concluded that it was misleading.

 

On this point ad (a) breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising) and 3.7 (Substantiation).

 

2. & 3. Upheld

We noted that, on 16 August 2011, after they had been notified of the complaint, GSK sent an email to various contacts asking "Have you experienced a smooth, hassle free and financially satisfying sale through ourselves and furthermore was payment for the sale of your items prompt and efficient?". We noted eight responses were submitted in total, seven of which agreed, and one stated that, although the service was a little hesitant, they would recommend it to others. We also noted from the documents submitted that GSK had sent an e-mail that described the date and weight of coins to a recipient and that this same recipient had one item collected from her address on 10 August and delivered to GSK. We also noted handwritten text stated various prices, including £255, as well as a sort code and account number and that the receipt indicated that £255 had been deposited in cash into the same account.  However, we did not consider the e-mails provided evidence that the recipients had used GSK for their valuing services, or that, in July 2011, GSK had hundreds of clients who were satisfied and had experienced a smooth, hassle free and financially satisfying sale, as claimed in ad (a), or that payment had been instant or fast as claimed in ads (b), (c) and (d).  In the absence of adequate evidence to substantiate the claims we concluded they were misleading.

 

On points 2 and 3 ads (a), (b), (c) and (d) breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising) and 3.7 (Substantiation).

Action

The ads must not appear again in their current form. We told GSK not to use the claims again. We also told them not to make claims unless they held substantiation to support them.

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