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Dimplex ad ruling revealed

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has published its ruling on a complaint in relation to Dimplex’s assertions for storage heating performance, following an investigation.

Four issues were investigated, all of which were not upheld.

The advertisement came in the form of a leaflet which promoted storage heaters. The first page was entitled “How much do you know about Dimplex electric storage heating?” and contained a list of “Electric Storage Heating Facts”.

The complainant challenged whether the following claims were misleading and could be substantiated:

1. “The performance of a Dimplex storage heater will not deteriorate over time”;

2. ” Running on off-peak electricity Dimplex storage heaters will always be cheaper over a 16 hour day than direct acting heaters on the day-rate”;

3. “Dimplex storage heaters, like other electric space heaters are 100% efficient - unbeatable by traditional heating methods”; and

4. “Static Dimplex storage heaters have no moving parts and are maintenance-free for life”.

The ASA considered that the claim “The performance of a Dimplex storage heater will not deteriorate over time” was likely to be interpreted by consumers as meaning that there would be no noticeable difference in the heat output of that product during its life cycle. They understood that the main components of storage heaters were passive and designed to last for many years without degradation.

The ASA also noted that the extract of the SAP documentation provided listed electric storage heaters as being 100 per cent efficient. They asked the DECC and BRE for their views on the claim. Both parties stated that electric storage heaters converted electricity to heat at 100 per cent efficiency.

However, they also pointed out that the generation of grid electricity relied in most cases upon the burning of fossil fuels. They therefore said the conversion losses to which traditional, fossil-fuelled heating appliances were subject would still occur when electric storage heaters were used, but at the power station rather than in the home.

The ASA concluded that it was accurate to describe electric space heaters as being 100 per cent efficient in the conversion of electricity to heat.

The ASA also considered that the claim that static Dimplex storage heaters had no moving parts, in the context of a sentence referring to their being maintenance-free for life, was likely to be understood by consumers as meaning that the appliances did not rely on any moving parts in order to store and dispense heat.

They noted that that was the case, and although the ASA acknowledged that they did nevertheless contain some moving parts, those would not routinely move during the operation of the appliance and therefore they did not consider that their existence would materially affect the average consumer’s understanding of the claim.

Dimplex marketing director for trade and independents Chris Stammers said: “We are happy with the ASA’s findings and the fact that the decision underwrites the claims we make, but we are not surprised by the verdict.”

For full details click here.

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