The advertising watchdog has banned a plumbing firm’s “no call-out charge” claim after it billed a customer £142 for arriving at a property and diagnosing a problem.
The website for Wandsworth Plumbers, seen in April, stated “No call-out charge” at the top of the homepage.
However a customer complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that the claim was misleading after being charged a call-out fee of £142.
Wandsworth Plumbers did not respond to the ASA’s inquiries.
The ASA said consumers would interpret the claim to mean that Wandsworth Plumbers did not charge for the time spent travelling to a customer’s home or for the initial diagnosis of a problem.
It said: “We considered that, unless consumers could decline work without incurring a cost, advertisers who made the claim ‘no call-out charge’ should not generally charge for travelling time or for an initial diagnosis.
“Because Wandsworth Plumbers had not demonstrated that consumers could decline work without incurring a cost for diagnosing the problem, we understood it was their policy to charge a call-out fee. We therefore concluded that the ad was misleading and breached the code.”
The ASA ruled that the claim must not appear again in its current form, adding: “We told Wandsworth Plumbers not to make claims that stated or implied that they did not charge a call-out fee when it was their policy to do so.”