The Government’s Green Deal energy saving scheme has fallen foul of the ad watchdog for the second time in three months for once again making unsubstantiated and misleading claims about the savings on offer.
The ruling follows a Department for Energy & Climate Change TV ad promoting the service, featured presenter and eco-celebrity and designer Oliver Heath and directed viewers online for more information and tips.
It was backed by an advertorial in the national press which offered information about the scheme and included claims on the savings that could be made by adopting home improvements, the financing available and potential property price increases.
But Crystal Home Improvements, which made a successful complaint about the financing deal in May, questioned whether DECC could substantiate many of its claims.
These included Heath’s assertion that his annual gas and electricity bills had dropped from £2,500 to £850 a year and that people who installed or energy efficient boilers could expect the value of their homes to rise by up 14%.
In its defence, DECC admitted that some detail had been omitted from the ad but that it would include these in future campaigns.
However, the Advertising Standards Authority was not impressed and banned the ads, ruling they were misleading. It warned DECC to ensure it provided sufficient evidence for making savings claims and avoid implying savings are guaranteed.
In May, it was claimed that Green Deal firms could be forced to hand back tens of thousands of pounds to customers following a similar complaint by Crystal Home Improvements, which was concerned that consumers were being treated unfairly. The complaint related to a brochure which could be downloaded from the Green Deal Finance Company (GDFC) website.
At the time, consumer law solicitor Kerry Gwyther, a partner at leading national law firm TLT, said: “If a consumer has been induced to enter into an agreement by misleading claims, a court may well find in the consumer’s favour and they may well be able to walk away from the contract without further payments or seek damages for any losses suffered.”
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