Trade and consumer advertisements have been appearing featuring the claim ‘A-rated glass as standard’ or similar. This is incorrect because – as BFRC registered companies will know - there is no such thing as ‘A-rated glass.’
“There is no scheme in the UK that rates glass in isolation,” explains BFRC technical director, Dr Gary Morgan. “All WER schemes operate in an identical way - rating the whole window including glass, frames, spacer bars and gaskets. It is not possible under current European Regulations to provide an energy rating for glass in isolation from the other window components. Whilst it is true that certain glazing specifications are widely used in ‘A’ and ‘A+’ rated windows, the glazing itself does not guarantee an ‘A’ or ‘A+’ rating for the whole window. The frame system also has to be thermally efficient to enable the complete window to obtain a favourable rating.”
Morgan adds: “Claims of ‘A-rated glass’ and the like are obviously designed to give the impression that the window itself is ‘A’ or ‘A+’ rated, which is misleading.”
BFRC managing director Chris Mayne adds: “BFRC’s wants to correct erroneous claims regarding window and door energy ratings. When such misleading claims are used in marketing then Trading Standards and the Advertising Standards Authority can get involved.”
“An advertising claim that a type of glass is A energy rated is likely to breach the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008 (and / or Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading 2008) if, as BFRC has outlined, the claim is meaningless in relation to glass but is likely to be understood as indicating a more energy-efficient product than other types of glass,” explains a Trading Standards spokesperson.
Misleading advertising is described as material that in any way, including its presentation, deceives or is likely to deceive the traders to whom it is addressed or whom it reaches; and by reason of its deceptive nature, is likely to affect their economic behaviour; or, for those reasons, injures or is likely to injure a competitor.
Trading Standards adds: “An offence under the Regulations can attract a £5,000 fine if heard in magistrates’ court, or an unlimited fine and/or 2 years’ imprisonment if heard at crown court. Enforcement is by local authority trading standards officers.”
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) also has a view. “The ASA is reminding advertisers in the glazing sector of the importance of ensuring their ad claims can be substantiated and don’t mislead. Misleading ads give an unfair advantage to businesses who don’t play by the rules, they also erode consumer trust. Having your ad investigated and subsequently banned by the ASA can be time consuming and costly as well as damaging your reputation. We urge advertisers to seek free, expert advice from the Committee of Advertising Practice on how to stick to the rules and avoid misleading would be customers,” commented Matt Wilson, ASA Communications & Marketing Manager.
BFRC is available to advise glazing businesses on any aspects of window and door energy ratings and how they can be correctly described.
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