The Government has been ordered to drop an advertising campaign for “misleading” consumers over the savings they could expect to make from its Green Deal programme.
The television ad and an advertorial in the national press also failed to make it clear that consumers could be charged an assessment fee, the advertising watchdog ruled.
The Green Deal offers householders loans to pay for energy-saving measures such as insulation, boiler upgrades and double glazing, which are repaid through their energy bills.
Viewers complained about DECC’s television campaign which implied that savings under the scheme were guaranteed.
The advert claimed “the money that we are saving more than covers any repayments for having the work done”. It added the upfront insulation costs would be “repaid using the savings you can expect to make”.
However, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) stated: “DECC could not guarantee that Green Deal repayments would exceed savings. Saving calculations were based on what DECC would expect a typical household to save as a result of building improvements and the assumption that energy bills would rise in line with inflation.
“Because we considered the claims implied that savings were guaranteed, we concluded the ad was misleading.”
DECC said it “did not deliberately mislead households”, adding: “We accept that we got it wrong. We’ll use this ASA decision to improve our future advertising.”