Watchdog upholds complaint over 'misleading' Waterford council waste disposal ad


An advertisement which showed a man with an older car being laughed at by peers suggested it was “acceptable to apparently undermine someone based on their possessions”, the advertising watchdog has ruled.

The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) upheld a complaint against Hertz Car Sales Blarney.

The car dealer shared a video on its Facebook page, featuring a man reversing a 2006 registered car into a parking space while two men looked on.

As the driver exited the car, the two men, dressed in office attire, joked with one another after nodding in the direction of the man.

A member of the public complained about the advertisement as they “did not consider it was appropriate for anyone to laugh at another person’s car just because it was older or less valuable than a newer model”.

The advertiser indicated to the ASAI that it would respond to the complaint, but no response was received.

In its judgment, the ASAI “expressed concern” at the advertisers’ failure to respond to the complaint and reminded them that there is an onus on advertisers to ensure that their advertising is in conformity with the Code.

“The Complaints Committee considered that the advertising suggested that it was acceptable to apparently undermine someone based on their possessions,” the ASAI said.

In absence of a response, and as the advertisement had not been shown to have been prepared “with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society”, the ASAI concluded it was in breach of the advertising code.

The complaint was one of 13 that were upheld completely by the ASAI, while a further three were found to be partially upheld.

A complaint against Waterford County Council was also upheld, after it was found that its advertisement on the cost of waste disposal was “misleading”.

The local authority detailed the price of waste disposal, which stated the cost of disposal from a Car/Estate/Jeep was €20.

However, when a member of the public went to dispose of waste, the individual was charged €40, and was advised they were being charged per bag, as opposed to per vehicle.

“The complaints committee noted that the advertisement had included a notification in regard to the method of the presentation of waste,” the decision states.

“However, no indication had been provided that the cost of a car was limited to no more than four standard refuse bags.” 

As a result, the ASAI found it to be in breach of the code, and upheld the complaint.