The advertising for the Saturn Boiler referred to the following:
Condensing Efficiency of 101%
CE, SEDBUK & HARP Certified…”
The complainants, OFTEC Ireland, said that it was misleading and contrary to best practice to state that the Saturn Boiler had a ‘Condensing Efficiency of 101%’ as all boilers should be rated using a ‘Seasonal Efficiency’ rating as per common practice in the Industry. They said that the Seasonal Efficiency rating was the rating that all manufacturers had agreed to abide by to ensure that consumers had access to correct information to allow them to make comparisons and informed decisions. The information in relation to seasonal efficiency rating was, they said, available on the website of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) website.
The complainants said that the information in relation to quoting seasonal efficiency data was also available on the Home Heating Appliance Register of Performance (HARP) database. They also said said that the HARP database had given the Saturn Boiler a seasonal efficiency rating of 91.2% and that in the interest of clarity this is what the advertisers should have referenced in their advertising to allow consumers to make an informed decision.
The advertisers said that the magazine which the advertising had appeared in was a trade only magazine and was not readily available to members of the general public. They said they only sold their boilers to approved installers who had undergone a specific training course, part of which covered training in seasonal efficiency ratings of the boilers concerned. The advertisers said that they did not consider consumers would be misled by their advertising as it was their experience that most customers conducted research on the product they wished to buy prior to making their purchase.
The advertisers said that they considered themselves to be transparent in their work and in the interest of transparency they provided a link to the HARP database from their website.
The advertisers forwarded a test report for the boiler in question which had been carried out by an approved testing house. This report indicated that the boiler had an efficiency rating of 100.8% condensing efficiency
The ASAI Executive noted the Energy Related Products Directive, which came into effect in September 2015 and required that the Seasonal Space heating efficiency must be stated for all boilers, alongside the temperature condition at which the efficiency was measured.
The Executive then conducted an exercise to see how other boiler manufacturers quoted the efficiency of their products on the SEAI database. Other manufacturers quoted the efficiency of their boilers under the ‘Seasonal Efficiency’ rating, with no reference given to condensing efficiency. The Executive noted that no manufacturer had a seasonal efficiency rating of 100% or over.
The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland also confirmed to the Executive that from 26th September 2015 that:
“any technical promotional material concerning a specific space heater model and describing its technical parameters includes a reference to the seasonal space heating energy efficiency class under average climate conditions for that model”.
The Complaints Committee considered the details of the complaint, the advertisers’ response and the research and information provided by the Executive. The Committee noted the requirements of the Energy Related Products Directive. In the interest of clarity for consumers, the Committee concluded that the advertising should quote the ‘Seasonal Efficiency’ rating of the boilers. In the circumstances the Complaints Committee upheld the complaint under Sections 2.9, 2.22 and 2.24 of the Code.
The advertising should not be used in the same format again.