Referencing guarantees and warranties in advertising: By Janet Taylor, Committee of Advertising Practice, Copy Advice Executive.
This week is National Consumer Week, with a focus on electrical goods. In support of that, the CAP has developed some top tips on advertising guarantees and warranties. For example, you need to make sure you understand and make clear the difference between a “Lowest price guarantee” and a “Lowest price guaranteed” claim.
Here are five tips guaranteed to get your guarantees on the right track:
- Make sure the meaning of the “guarantee” claim is clear
Depending on context, the word “guarantee” can have several meanings. It can be understood as a claim of efficacy; a price promise; or a formal agreement to replace/mend a product if it fails (also known as a warranty). However the word is used, its meaning should be clear to the consumer. CAP advice on Guarantees and Warranties goes into more detail.
- Don’t make an absolute performance claim you cannot prove
We know marketers have confidence in their products and services and such self-assurance is great. But, you need to make sure you don’t claim that performance is guaranteed unless you can demonstrate this is true in all cases, without exception! This Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruling shows the risks of making such absolute performance claims.
- Don’t confuse between “lowest price guarantee” and “lowest price guaranteed”.
Amazingly the addition of one little letter can completely change the meaning of the word “guarantee”. If you have done all your research and set your prices lower than your competitors then it would be fine to say “lowest price guaranteed”, because you are making a proactive price promise. But if you have a policy to offer a lower price than a competitor when a relevant competing price is presented by the customer, then this should be referred to as “lowest price guarantee”, because you are making a reactive price promise. This ASA ruling shows what can happen when the two meanings are confused and CAP Guidance provides help on the understanding of Lowest Price Claims and Promises.
4.Tell people about any restrictions on your guarantee.
The Consumer Rights Act already protects consumers’ rights if some things they buy are faulty. Some marketers also offer extended warranties/guarantees that go beyond factors covered by legislation and, in those cases, marketers will need to make consumers aware of any limitations on that warranty/guarantee if they go beyond what is expected. This ASA ruling shows how an advertiser got the balance right.
- Make sure you honour your guarantees
If you offer a warranty or promote a money-back guarantee then make sure you honour it. This recent ASA ruling showed that the no quibble 2 year warranty was not honoured and was found misleading.
The same applies to money-back guarantees, which this ASA ruling shows.
If you are unsure how your activities fit within the rules mentioned within this article, please take advantage of our Advert Review service.
Contact us today, and find out how we can help.