Companies offering 'free estimates' adverts to be banned

'free estimates' adverts to be banned
25 May 2016

You've seen those companies that offer 'free' estimates, but then end up charging you money? Well, the businesses that do that are going to have their adverts banned, according to the Advertising Standards Authority.

The ASA has banned an advert for Your Local Plumbing Company after they offered a free estimate, but then charged for the creatively titled "investigation fee".

Your Local Plumbing said that estimating the cost of fixing a known problem is free, but if you ask them to identify a problem, that'll cost you.

They said that their offer was for a no obligation free estimate, for a job like a new boiler, but a customer would be charged if the request was for a boiler that was broken, which required a diagnosis.

You can see how some people might get confused about that.

The ASA said: "We considered consumers would interpret the claim 'free estimate' to mean that Your Local Plumbing would offer a quote following an assessment or diagnosis and customers would be able to decline that work without incurring a cost."

"However, because the estimate was only free in certain situations and there was a charge for any diagnostic work, we concluded that the claim 'free estimate' was misleading."

"We told Your Local Plumbing Company to ensure that future ads did not claim that estimates were free unless consumers would not be charged for diagnosing a fault."

As such, it looks like any future ads from any company operating like this, will have their adverts banned also.

TOPICS:   Scams   Advertising

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