Who: The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and the Business Catalyst Ltd
Where: United Kingdom
When: 14 June 2023
Law stated as at: 4 July 2023
The Business Catalyst, a business software provider, posted a description of its customer relationship management (CRM) tool called “Ideal Patient Journey” on its website. In addition, the company included a comparison table titled “Ideal Patient Journey Features” where it also presented two other systems. The table provided various features of Ideal Patient Journey in comparison with RoboReception and a third party software provider. All features in the table were marked with ticks against Ideal Patient Journey, and significantly fewer were ticked for other two providers. In addition, RoboReception was described as “a website chatbot“.
The ad in the Business Catalyst’s blog post was challenged on whether the comparison in it was misleading. In particular, RoboReception believed that the claims about its software were diminished since they omitted information about its other important functions.
The ASA upheld the complaint. It considered that from the description in the blog post, the potential customers would understand that RoboReception was simply a chatbot. However, the ASA understood from the complaint that the company also offered a wider CRM functionality, including customisable dashboards, workflow pipelines, treatment plan tracking and a lead tracker function. Additionally, the ASA noted that were a tick was not marked against RoboReception in the table, the readers would understand that those characteristics were not part of its system.
The ASA took into consideration the disclaimer that the Business Catalyst provided in the post – namely, that traders should doublecheck the features with the respective software providers to receive the most up-to-date information. However, the authority did not consider it to be sufficient to override the overall impression of the ad that the competitor’s system was simply a chatbot which “dealt with the initial stages of customer enquiries only and did not offer the features that were unticked in the comparison table.” Further, the Business Catalyst did not provide evidence of RoboReception’s capabilities.
On these grounds, the ASA concluded that the ad was misleading.
Why this matters:
The UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing states that ads that include a comparison with an identifiable competitor must not mislead, or be likely to mislead, the consumer about either the advertised product or the competing product. When making comparison claims, the advertisers, therefore, should make sure that they provide an accurate representation of all the products and services they compare, and that they are able to provide a sufficient substantiation for those claims.