The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a email advert from Landlord Services Group in Kilmarnock.
An was email sent during October 2011, advertising gas engineer work opportunities. The email stated, “&hellip Landlord Services Group urgently require professional Gas Engineer’s [sic] within the G Postcode Area to provide Annual Gas Checks & Servicing along with any repairs, installations and full Maintenance work that comes through from our National Corporate Clients”. Under a sub-heading “Work Guaranteed” the email stated, “This work is guaranteed and the chosen Contractor will be given exclusive rights to the contract within the designated Postcode area over the next 2 years”.
Under a further sub-heading “The Guarantee”, the email stated “600 Full Managed Properties, (All Gas Maintenance work included). Duties will include CP12’s, servicing, repairs, call out’s [sic], installation work, insurance work, student accommodation and general plumbing work”.
East Ayrshire Trading Standards Department challenged whether the offer of guaranteed work was genuine.
Landlord Services Group (LSG) stated that the guarantee of work referred to in the email related to 600 fully managed properties in the G [Glasgow] postal code that had agreed to use the services of the chosen company. They stated that the property services that were guaranteed within the contract related to local letting and property management companies that had agreed to trial and use the services of LSG and their contractors.
LSG provided a letter from a safety maintenance company which stated that it managed approximately 400 properties within the Glasgow area and that for the last two months it had been dealing with the advertiser with regard to the provision of a full maintenance package. They also provided an email from another company which stated that it managed 400 properties within the central belt of Scotland and that over the last nine months LSG had worked with them to provide maintenance work and hoped to continue to do so. LSG also provided a copy of the blank contract which would be awarded to the successful candidate.
They stated that they would remove the word “guaranteed” from future ads to avoid any implication that the contractor vacancies would definitely be awarded.
The ASA noted LSG had provided correspondence from two property management companies which stated that they had been dealing with LSG for the provision of general maintenance (including gas) for properties in the Glasgow area but further noted they had not provided evidence to demonstrate that these companies collectively managed the 600 properties referred to in the ad or that LSG had been contracted to provide on-going general maintenance work for a two-year period.
Also, whilst the ASA noted a blank contract had been drawn up, which LSG stated would be awarded to the chosen gas maintenance contractor, it considered that because that contract had not yet been awarded it did not demonstrate that the two year contract work referred to in the ad was genuine.
The ad regulator considered that LSG had not provided sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the two-year gas maintenance contract work was genuine and therefore concluded that the ad was misleading.
It ruled that the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation) and 20.2 (Employment, homework schemes and business opportunities).
The ASA stated that the ad should not appear again in its current form. It told Landlord Services Group that it needed to hold documentary evidence to demonstrate that any advertised work was genuinely available.