The Advertising Standards Agency (“ASA”) has investigated complaints surrounding the television advertisements of BrightHouse (a rent-to-own retailer) which gives customers the opportunity to purchase various household products, repaying in weekly payments over a period of – on average – 156 weeks.

The complaints against BrightHouse focused on:

  • The legibility of on-screen text.
  • Whether the advertisements were misleading as they did not make clear that consumers were required to have or purchase insurance to cover fire, theft, and accidental damage.
  • Whether the advertisements made it clear whether or not the weekly payments were inclusive of the cost of a non-optional service package.

The ASA concluded that, as complainants had said they were unable to read the text as it was too narrow, the superimposed text was not presented clearly and contained information (such as the representative example) that would be material to a consumers decision, and as such the advertisement was misleading. Additionally, the advertisement did not include information on the requirement for suitable insurance, and a failure to include this requirement was misleading. Lastly, BrightHouse’s failure to state that the weekly costs involved in taking an agreement with BrightHouse were inclusive of the non-optional service change was also misleading, as this was seen as material information.

Consequently, the television advertisements were not to be broadcast again in their current form and BrightHouse was informed of the need to material information is made clear.