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E.on prohibited from further running misleading ad claiming prices same as gas boiler heating

Energy supplier E.on has been slapped on the wrists by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) for running an ad claiming their service is “no more expensive than heating provided by a traditional gas boiler”, but including optional costs in their calculations that don’t affect many consumers.

The ad appeared in April 2015, with two complainants challenging whether the ad was misleading, since consumers were unlikely to understand the price comparison included additional costs that might or might not occur during the lifetime of a traditional gas boiler, since these additional costs were not made clear in the company’s claim.

These additional costs, including boiler maintenance cover, insurance, and the costs associated with replacing a boiler are “unlikely to affect all customers”, the ASA assessed, therefore do not need to factored in to the cost of an average consumer’s monthly gas supply.

What’s more, removing the optional costs from the equation was likely to mean that the heating tariff for some customers would in fact be higher than heating provided by a traditional gas tariff.

The ASA ruled the ad must not appear again in its current form, and that E.con must not include optional costs when comparing their service with traditional gas boilers, unless the basis for the comparison is clearly explained.

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