ASA upholds consumer complaint

Johannesburg - The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld a consumer's complaint that advertising on Fourways Gardens Plumbing's website was misleading.

Sue Frankland lodged a complaint after the company advertised that there were no call-out fees, and free quotes, but she was told she had to pay an "inspection fee".

She claimed that because it was impossible to provide a quote without doing an inspection, the advertisement was misleading.

"While the directorate accepts that there might be instances where the respondent would be unable to determine the cause of the problem without having to invest some sort of labour... the average consumer would not appreciate that such instances would be regarded as something that could attract extra costs," ASA said in its ruling on Friday.

"The respondent appears to refer to such instances as having to do an 'inspection'."

Fourways Gardens Plumbing submitted that it was common practice that every quote involved an inspection fee, unless it involved a quote without any physical work being done.

The company said it was not possible to mention everything in the advertising, and if some consumers specifically requested a quote, they would be informed that there was a fee.

The ASA said it did not share Fourways Gardens Plumbing's submission that it was not possible to mention everything on the website.

The business was ordered to withdraw the claims and not to use them again.