Advertising Standards Authority upholds complaint regarding use of the term “Freephone”

24-06-2013 14:44

TheASA has recently (19 June 2013) upheld a complaint regarding the use of the term Freephone on a company’s website.

A former franchisee of a driving school franchise complained that the website of the driving school had breached the CAP code on four separate points.  One of the points raised was the statement “24hr Freephone: 0330 55 2254…” was misleading because it was in actual fact a geographic number.  The driving school company argued that it had been assured by the telephone  number provider that all calls were free of charge and when it discovered it was not the case it added an asterisk after the number to a footnote: “0330 numbers are included in your free usage if eligible or cost the same as calling a standard UK landline”.

The ASA upheld the complaint on the basis that readers of the website would understand the number was free in the same way as 0800 or 0808 numbers were free, which was not the case.  The number charged callers the same as a geographic number, so the claim “Freephone” was misleading despite the fact the company had included the disclaimer.

The other three heads of complaint were also upheld and the company was told not to run the adverts in their current form and not to use the claim “Freephone” if calls from landlines were charged.

It is important to consider all aspects of your advertising for accuracy as this company will now need to re-run its adverts, at it’s own cost.

If you have any questions on this, please contact Emma Hayward.



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