A television advert for the car buying service webuyanycar.com has been ruled “misleading” by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), and must not be shown again in its current form.

The complaint and the decision centred on the phrase “no nasty surprises” in combination with the lack of any reference to the company’s mandatory administration fee.

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The TV ad in question showed two men floating in the sky with car shaped balloons, while a voiceover stated:

“When you’re selling you car you can often get knocked down on the price. And, woah, it’s not nice. But with webuyanycar.com’s price guarantee, if your car is in the condition you say it is we guarantee to pay the price we quote. So, no nasty surprises.”

The car buying service argued that it understood it only had to disclose the administration fee if a reference was made to the transfer of money. Since no prices were quoted in the ad, it therefore thought no reference was required.

The ASA disagreed, citing breaches in both the “misleading advertising” and “qualification” sections of BCAP (Broadcasting – Committee of Advertising Practice) Code.

In its ruling, the ASA said:

“We considered that, given the reference to no ‘nasty surprises’ was made in the context of a claim about a guaranteed price that the advertiser would pay, viewers would interpret it as meaning that, should they proceed with a sale, they would be paid the quoted price without any charges applying to the sale.”

Furthermore, the ASA added:

“We told the advertiser not to imply that sales at prices they quoted customers would not be subject to any charges.”

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