The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled British Gas aired two ads for its HomeCare Cover service that were “misleading”.
The UK’s regulator of advertising had previously received 24 complaints from British Gas customers.
According to ASA, the ads implied that all British Gas HomeCare customers would be able to call out engineers to attend to urgent issues at short notice.
Both ads were seen in February, in a period when the company was dealing with the impact of Covid restrictions and industrial action in a dispute over pay and conditions.
The regulator said: “The ads must not appear again in the forms complained about. We told British Gas Services Ltd not to misleadingly imply that emergency call outs were available to all customers at short notice unless they held evidence that was the case.
“We also told them not to imply that customers could obtain a boiler service reasonably soon after joining the scheme if that was not the case.”
A British Gas spokesperson said: “We are disappointed at the outcome and are seeking an independent review of the Council’s decision, which contrary to the original ASA recommendations and Clearcast’s views.
“We actually completed more emergency and vulnerable customer visits in the first quarter of this year compared to the first quarter last year, despite Covid and industrial action which has now ended, seeing over half a million customers in total.
“We know there will have been more customers who felt let down by our decision to push back non-essential services, which was necessary to protect customers and colleagues as we worked under the government’s Covid restrictions at the time.
“We have since caught up on any non-urgent appointment and are up to date with urgent appointments as our engineers continue to work around the clock to look after our customers.”