Posted 05 March 2013
A consumer complainant lodged a breach complaint against the CAVI Brands, arguing that it has not complied with the rulings of a previous ASA ruling. He complained of advertising for Solal present on the CAVI Brands website.
The ASA Directorate was satisfied that, while CAVI Brands did technically breach the original rulings by failing to completely remove the information it undertook to, there is no apparent need for sanctions as suggested by the complainant for these links were immediately removed upon being informed.
|Cavi Brands / R Jobson / 21415 / 21457|
Ruling of the : ASA Directorate
In the matter between:
Professor M Roy Jobson Complainant(s)/Appellant(s)
Cavi Brand (Pty) Ltd Respondent
28 Feb 2013
In Cavi Brands / RJobson / 21415 (16 January 2013) and Cavi Brands / R Jobson / 21457 (16 January 2013) the Directorate accepted the respondent’s voluntary undertaking to remove all references to the Solal brand and its products from its website, www.cavibrands.co.za.
The website contained information on the various brands owned and managed by the respondent, one being Solal Technologies.
The undertaking was accepted on condition that the advertising was withdrawn in its current format within the deadlines stipulated in Clause 15.3 of the Procedural Guide, and is not used again in future.
SUBSEQUENT TO THE RULING
On 31 January 2013 the complainant lodged a breach complaint against the respondent, arguing that it has not complied with the rulings.
It was submitted that on accessing original URLs originally complained of, the advertising is still present. A google search on keywords “solal” and “Cavi Brands” shows the top four “hits” reflecting the following URLs,
The complainant requested the ASA Directorate to investigate the breach complaint and asked for sanctions to be imposed considering the close relationship between Solal Technologies and Cavi Brands.
RELEVANT CLAUSE OF THE CODE OF ADVERTISING PRACTICE
In light of the breach allegations the Directorate considered Clause 15 of the Procedural Guide (Enforcement of rulings) as relevant.
The respondent submitted it had instructed its website service provider to remove all references to Solal from the Cavi Brands website, including all pages and internet links. It was informed that it was done and it was firmly of the view that the service provider had ensured that this instruction had been complied with.
Following enquiries with its website designers, it transpired that whilst they had removed the links to the Solal pages from the website, they had neglected to actually delete the pages themselves.
This inadvertent and technical error has since been rectified and written confirmation was obtained that this was done. Insofar as the relationship between Solal and the respondent was concerned, it explained that Both Mr Malcolm Hyland and Mr Michael ten Hope have resigned from the Board of Solal.
ASA DIRECTORATE RULING
The ASA Directorate considered all the relevant documentation submitted by the respective parties.
The Directorate is only tasked with determining whether the respondent is in breach of the previous ASA Directorate ruling.
Clause 15.1 of the Procedural Guide states that “The responsibility for adherence to a ruling made by the Directorate or the ASA Committees lies with the person against whom such ruling has been made”.
The complainant submitted that the offending advertising still appear on the links mentioned above, whereas the respondent argued, inter alia, that the links to the Solal pages from the website had been removed, but the actually pages were not deleted.
This technically suggests that there is merit in the argument that the respondent was in breach.
However, once alerted to this, the respondent immediately rectified the situation, and explained the nature of the breach. It would appear that unless one has the actual URL needed to access these pages, one would not be able to view them. The Directorate also notes that conducting a search on Google as the complainant did does not deliver the pages complained of.
It is also worth noting that the respondent does not have a “history” with the ASA that would suggest a deliberate attempt to circumvent ASA rulings and procedures.
In light of the above, the Directorate is satisfied that, while the respondent did technically breach the original rulings by failing to completely remove the information it undertook to, there is no apparent need for sanctions as suggested by the complainant.
The respondent is instructed to ensure compliance insofar as its undertakings are concerned.