Heating manufacturer banned from using 'unsubstantiated and misleading' claims

Published:  09 February, 2011

Spanish electric heating manufacturer Rointe has been banned from using 'misleading' claims in its advertising by the Advertising Standards Authority.

The ruling followed an investigation into an advertisement and brochure produced by Rointe, after the ASA received complaints both from the trade and members of the public.

The ASA said claims of "60% energy saving" and "100% green energy" must be removed from all of Rointe's future advertising.

The manufacturer had also claimed that " ... in 2008 there were more than 400,000 explosions of different magnitudes when using combustion for boilers or water heaters". When questioned, the company said this referred to 400,000 entries found on the internet when searching words such as 'gas' and 'explosions'.

This, the ASA ruled, was "exaggerated" and likely to cause "undue fear" among consumers.

Manufacturer Dimplex has welcomed the ruling. Chris Stammers, marketing director for trade and independents at Dimplex, said: "This is really good news for consumers, heating specifiers and responsible manufacturers, and we welcome the ASA’s intervention.

“For some time there have been damaging misrepresentations of conventional and established electric heating products in the media from various sources, targeting vulnerable people who can least afford to make a mistake when selecting the right heating system for their needs. As these unsubstantiated claims are stopped, people will once again be able to make a purchase decision based on fact, not fiction.”

Dimplex said that the heaters which have been the subject of these unsubstantiated efficiency claims can never compete on a like-for-like basis on running costs with storage heaters, which take in energy during the cheaper off-peak period. The electric radiators offered will cost exactly the same to run as any other panel heater of the same rating that has an accurate thermostat.

Stammers said: “We believe these manufacturers have been practicing the type of short-termism that can only damage the wider industry. The premium-priced products featured in the misleading advertising have doubtless created some healthy profits, but customer complaints are inevitable when the promised efficiencies don’t materialise and consumers realise they could have bought an identically-performing product for a fraction of the price.”

The full ASA ruling can be viewed online at www.asa.org.uk/ASA-action/Adjudications/2011/1/Rointe/TF_ADJ_49624.aspx.