An advert for Trade Centre Wales has been banned from the airwaves after the Advertising Standards Authority ruled that it was ‘misleading’ listeners.
The ad claimed that the used car supermarket group was offering ‘hundreds of cars from just £20 a week’ but an investigation found that not to be the case.
As a result, the ASA has now stepped in and banned the Car Dealer Top 100 firm from rebroadcasting the advert, which originally aired on February 13.
The contention centred around a claim made in the advert, which stated: ‘Trade Centre Wales is proud to offer probably the UK’s cheapest cars with hundreds of cars from just £20 a week. Fiestas, Corsas, Fiat 500s; all just £20 a week.
‘Drive away today for just £20 a week with £99 deposit. See our price promise online.’
The voiceover went on to say: ‘Trade Centre Wales. Open ‘til six tonight at Neath and Cardiff North. Cash price three nine nine nine. Deposit ninety-nine. Credit amount three thousand nine hundred. Two, sixty weekly payments of twenty pounds. Total payable five two nine nine. Representative APR twelve point nine per cent, twelve per cent fixed.’
After hearing the advertisement – broadcast on February 13, 2022 – one listener went to the company’s website but was disappointed when he was unable to find a car at the stated £20 weekly price.
He took his complaint to the ASA, which launched its own investigation.
The body discovered that the £20 per week offer was only available subject to strict terms and conditions.
Trade Centre Wales provided information about 18 cars that were first advertised at £3,999 in the first two weeks of February, of which five were subject to buyers opting for finance agreements.
Of those customers, none took on finance at the £20 per week rate mentioned in the advert.
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After a rigorous investigation, the ASA upheld the listener’s compliant.
A spokesman for the the body said: ‘The ASA understood that cars were available for £3,999 from the advertiser, and as such were theoretically available for £20 per week, but that not every individual would be eligible for the finance offer described in the ad.
‘We acknowledged that the voice-over first stated that the finance offer was “from just” £20 per week, but noted it then stated that it was “just” £20 per week twice after that.
‘We considered the ad placed significant emphasis on the availability of cars at the weekly price of £20. It referenced some conditions to that finance offer, but did not include a statement which made clear that other terms and conditions applied.
‘In particular, it did not include any statement, such as “terms and conditions apply”, that communicated to listeners that the £20 per week finance offer would only be available to those who met the eligibility requirements.
‘As such, we considered listeners would understand from the ad that they would be able to purchase a car from Trade Centre Wales with a finance agreement allowing them to make repayments at £20 per week, regardless of their financial circumstances or status.’
The ASA added: ‘We noted the ad referred to Trade Centre Wales, which did not appear in the Financial Services Register, rather than The Trade Centre Group plc, and also did not state they were a credit broker and were not a lender. We considered the absence of that information contributed to the impression that anyone would be eligible for the finance offer.
‘Because the ad misleadingly implied that all listeners would be eligible for the finance offer described in the ad regardless of their financial circumstances or status, and did not include other information required by CONC [Consumer Credit sourcebook], we concluded the ad breached the code.’
The ASA ruled the advert must not appear again in the same form.
The agency added: ‘We told The Trade Centre Group plc t/a Trade Centre Wales to ensure its ads complied. We told them to ensure their ads did not misleadingly imply that consumers would be eligible for described finance offers regardless of their financial circumstances or status.’
Car Dealer has approached Trade Centre for comment.