In what was a significant ruling today by the Advertising Standards Authority, they upheld a complaint raised by Safestyle on misleading savings claims in advertising by Anglian Home Improvements and Everest.

This was the claim lodged by Safestyle: Safestyle UK challenged whether the savings claim “UP TO 40% OFF” was misleading and could be substantiated.

ASA ruling

In response to the complaint, which the ASA upheld, these were the assessments for both Anglian and Everest:

Anglian Home Improvements:

The ad stated that “UP TO 40% OFF” applied to “APPLICABLE PRODUCTS” and that the promotion was “Available to 31st March 2020”. The ASA considered consumers would understand from the ad that a discount applied to individual products or product ranges, and that the promotion was temporary. We considered that consumers were also likely to understand the “UP TO 40% OFF” claims to represent a genuine saving against the usual selling price for the individual products included in the promotion at the time the ads appeared, and that Anglian Windows had reduced the price from that usual selling price for the promotional period.

We acknowledged that the ad also stated “VOLUME PRICE REDUCTION”, but we considered consumers were unlikely to understand that it referred to a mechanism whereby a percentage discount was applied to the total value of qualifying orders rather than to individual products. While more detailed information was available on a further click through page, many consumers would not proceed to that page. We considered that it was important the nature of a promotion was clear from the outset to avoid consumers being misled. We understood that the advertised promotion ran from 4 February until 31 March 2020 and that the promotional products included windows, doors and porches.

Anglian Windows had provided a promotional calendar for 2019 and early 2020, which showed three further promotions where customers were also eligible for a price reduction on windows, doors and porches. One ran from 2 January 2019 until 5 March 2019, and a second from 30 April 2019 until 4 June 2019. Those promotions allowed customers to receive a discount on their order, with the discount amount dependent on the value of the order. In addition from 6 November 2018 until 3 February 2020 a further promotion was also running. That promotion, on the same products, allowed customers to opt-in to various initiatives to receive a discount, which could be applied in addition to discounts from the promotions which were ongoing in 2019. Whilst that promotion required customers to opt-in, the sales data demonstrated that all but one customer did so. The sales data therefore did not demonstrate that there were significant sales at non-promotional prices.

We considered the duration of that promotion, meant that eligible products were on promotion for the period from 6 November 2018 until 3 February 2020, immediately before the promotion referenced in the ad. We therefore considered there was no intervening period between promotions during which a higher selling price had been established. Because the ad implied that consumers would be able to achieve a genuine short-term saving against a usual non-promotional selling price of individual products or product ranges, when in fact the products had been sold at lower promotional prices for over a year, we concluded that the savings claim “Up to 40% off” was likely to mislead consumers.

The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading Advertising) 3.7 (Substantiation) and 3.17 (Prices).


The ASA considered that consumers were likely to understand the “UP TO 40% OFF” claim to represent a genuine saving against the usual selling price for the products at the time the ads appeared, and that Everest had reduced the price for the promotional period. We also considered that consumers would generally expect periods of promotion to be temporary.

We considered the promotional calendar for February 2019 to February 2020 Everest provided. Over that period, Everest had run nine promotions consecutively which had started and ended immediately one after another. The promotions either included their ‘Signature’ or ‘Editions’ ranges of windows and doors. We understood that discounted prices were available on the: ‘Editions’ range from 5 February 2019 until 4 March 2019 (27 days); from 24 April 2019 until 1 July 2019 (68 days); from 3 September 2019 until 3 December 2019 (90 days); and from 23 December 2019 until 3 February 2020 (42 days). We understood that between those promotions there were intervening periods of 49 days, 62 days and 19 days when discounted prices were not available on the ‘Editions’ range, but were instead available on the ‘Signature’ range. At the time the ad was seen on 5 February 2020 the promotion related to the ‘Signature’ range.

We assessed the difference between the windows and doors in Everest’s ‘Editions’ and ‘Signature’ ranges. We understood that the ‘Signature’ range products included a black spacer bar in their internal construction, whereas the ‘Editions’ range allowed the choice of either grey or black, but that they were otherwise the same products. However, we considered that this difference would be seen as negligible by consumers. In addition, the Everest website did not appear to make reference to the two different ranges or market them separately. This meant that products which were virtually identical had been advertised continually as on promotion from February 2019 until February 2020. Therefore, at the time the ad appeared the products had been on promotional offer for a year and the usual selling price was in effect the lower promotional price, rather than a higher non-promotional price.

Notwithstanding that we considered the products included in the ‘Editions’ and ‘Signature’ ranges were equivalent, we also considered that the intervening periods between Everest’s promotions on the two ranges would have been insufficient in length to establish that the higher prices of the products were the usual selling prices of the products. Because we considered the ‘Editions’ and ‘Signature’ product ranges were equivalent, and that the promotional products were not usually sold at a higher non-promotional price, we concluded that the savings claims was likely to mislead consumers.

The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading Advertising) 3.7 (Substantiation) and 3.17 (Prices).

You can read the entire rulings and responses by the ASA to the complaint here:

Safestyle has provided the following response to the ASA rulings:

We welcome the Advertising Standards Association’s decision and are pleased that they upheld our complaints against two of our national competitors. It is important that the process of modernising industry practices continues at pace. As the largest national operator we want to play a positive role in leading that change and improving the reputation of our industry. Obviously this starts with our efforts to improve our own business practices and standards. We are hopeful that the GGF will provide leadership for that process so we can move forward collectively as an industry.

Safestyle as a business dropped the sales tactics they were infamous for in 2017 and it has to be recognised that they have tried to move on from that period. The other two nationals clearly have not and hopefully this marks a turning point and a moment to reflect on where the industry needs to go from here.

On a side note, if the ASA is reading this, perhaps go take a look at DFS!

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Mature approach

The above is a significant moment. Its recognition and the slapping down of tactics we have all known to be happening in this industry by a body with teeth. In the world of the small installer, where service and product quality are the main USPs, this will come as good news and only serve to boost the argument that sales based on quality and service are the only right way to go.

But more its more than that, it’s a call that our industry has a bit of growing up to do. That as a sector we have to take a more mature approach to how it conducts itself. I have an article coming up in the next few days which explores this more, specifically off the back of the most recent Green Homes Grant information from the Government.

I have said in previous posts this year that in too many areas our industry is incredibly juvenile in how it conducts itself. Be it in marketing, the running of businesses, egos and attitudes. We’re a roughly £5bn sector that acts way bigger than it is. If we are to be taken more seriously by other areas of industry and indeed Government, then we have to change our approach both within the sector and how we deal with the general public. If we do, and this could take years, even a decade, then perhaps we’ll start to see fortunes change in our favour.

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