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Gatwick airport parking company's advert 'misled customers'

Published 04/11/2015

An advert for a car parking firm which operates around Gatwick airport has been condemned by the watchdog
An advert for a car parking firm which operates around Gatwick airport has been condemned by the watchdog

An ad for car parking at Gatwick airport has been banned following a complaint that vehicles were parked entirely in local streets rather than a secure compound.

Gatwickmeetandgreet.net claimed that it was approved by Gatwick Police and Trading Standards, "never" overbooked clients and parked cars at a police-inspected compound that was fenced, floodlit and patrolled.

It added that "for the efficient orchestration of our parking service, your car may be parked in a quiet residential road".

One reader said he understood the compound did not exist and cars were parked entirely in local streets, and complained that the claim about police and Trading Standards approval was misleading and unsubstantiated.

Urban Parking, which owns the service, did not respond to the Advertising Standards Authority's (ASA) questions about the complaint.

The ASA said it was concerned by Urban Parking's lack of response and apparent disregard for the advertising code and concluded that the company's claim that it was approved by police and Trading Standards was misleading in the absence of any substantiation.

The ASA said consumers were likely to understand that cars would be routinely parked at the compound and were likely to remain there for the duration of a stay.

But it concluded there was no evidence to support this claim either and it was therefore misleading.

It ruled that the ad must not appear again in its current form, adding: "We told Urban Parking to ensure their future advertising did not mislead in relation to where consumers' vehicles would be parked.

"We also told them to ensure they were in a position to support their future objective claims with adequate evidence and that they did not claim they had been approved, endorsed or authorised by any public or other body if that was not the case."

In a separate ruling, the ASA found that an offer on Stansted Airport's website of up to 70% off the cost of parking for those who pre-booked was misleading.

One person complained that the offer was misleading after he was quoted prices higher than those advertised.

Manchester Airport Group, trading as Stansted Airport, said the ad made it clear that not every customer would achieve savings in every case and not every customer would make a saving of 70%.

The ASA said: "Given that there were circumstances under which customers would be quoted a higher price for pre-booking than the 'turn up and park' rate, which was not explained in the ad, we concluded that the claim was misleading."

A Manchester Airport Group spokesman said: " It was not our intention to mislead our customers, and we have now removed the adverts in question from our website.

"The ASA has acknowledged our response and co-operation in the course of action we have taken."

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