M Blue Limited (MBL) operated a business that repaired video game consoles. On its website, MBL listed the various repairs it could perform and the fees it charged for those repairs. A consumer asked MBL to perform a certain repair to a console; however, despite MBL completing the repair, the console still did not work due to other problems. MBL returned the console to the consumer charging for the repair that it had completed, but also saying that the console was beyond economic repair. The consumer complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that the website, where the repairs and prices were listed, was misleading; the consumer argued that the website should have said that MBL would still charge for repairs completed even if the console itself was beyond economic repair.
The ASA ruled for the consumer. The ASA said that that fact that the consumer would be charged even if the console was not working following the repairs should have been stated clearly on the website; if it had been listed there, the consumer would have sent the console elsewhere for repair.
The ASA ruling followed the CAP Code (the code of practice that seeks to ensure that adverts are not misleading).The ASA has said that an advert is misleading if it deceives a consumer and causes the consumer to take a transactional decision that they would not otherwise have made (i.e. sending the console to MBL). Although the CAP Code does not have legal force, it is best practice to comply with it, as failure to do so can result in bad publicity and ultimately an inability to obtain advertising space.