GSF must not broadcast the advert again
GSF must not broadcast the advert again

GSF has been told not to broadcast one of its radio commercials again following a ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority.

A GSF radio advert claiming that customers ‘could save up to 70 percent on main dealer prices’ was ruled to be in breach of guidelines as the comparison was misleading.

GSF argued that a large proportion of the components it was comparing were OES, if not OEM. While GSF said it also used cheaper, ‘slightly lower “aftermarket” quality parts’, it expected franchises to do the same to compete and used a tool to track and compare costs.

The ASA ruled in favour of the complainant and said: “We noted from the comparative information supplied that GSF were 70% cheaper than the main dealers for some OES parts. We noted that the number of occasions on which they were 70% cheaper increased significantly when they included their own aftermarket products in the comparison.

“However, we noted that the comparison tool did not identify whether the dealers’ price was for an OES or aftermarket quality part. We understood that main dealers predominantly used OES parts and we therefore considered it likely that the tool had compared a number of GSF’s aftermarket quality parts with main dealer OES parts. We understood that the quality of aftermarket parts could vary and we therefore considered that, by relying in part on a comparison of aftermarket with OES parts, the ad was likely to mislead.”

The ruling brings to light what perception those outside the trade have of the term ‘matching quality’ and whether its continued use as a marketing technique by suppliers is possible.

The ASA said in its ruling: “We considered that listeners would not necessarily expect the comparison to be based on identical branded products, but that they would expect the products compared to be substantially equivalent in terms of quality.”

GSF commented: “We remain disappointed at the decision of the Advertising Standard Authority in this matter. GSF supplies a wide range of high quality parts to the trade and private motorists through 74 branches and a highly successful e-commerce platform. These parts are sourced from the same premium manufacturers that supply VM replacement items. Furthermore, within the GSF range there are a number of OE replacement parts which are priced to sell to the retail public at 70% less than the typical VM Dealer price. We remain committed to providing our customers with significant savings on high-quality replacement products.”

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