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Kia seven-year warranty TV, radio and print adverts banned by the ASA

Kia's print, radio and television (see above) adverts promoting its seven-year warranty have been banned in their current form by the Advertising Standards Agency - the industry watchdog.

Following two complaints - one from aftermarket warranty company Warranty Direct and another from a member of the public - the ASA ruled that the ads were misleading as insufficent prominence was given to the 100,000-mile limit on the warranty and the small print of the terms were not made clear. The television ads featured text saying it was a "seven-year/100,000-mile warranty", while the advert that appeared on the radio advised listeners to visit the Kia website for more information, and that terms and conditions applied.

In its response, Kia defended the adverts, stating it "believed the on-screen text was displayed with sufficient prominence and was in line with other manufacturers who included warranty information in their ads" and "They understood that the caveat "terms and conditions apply" was appropriate and sufficient for the radio ad and explained that they had not included the reference to the mileage limitation."

In its adjudication, the ASA disagreed: "although the mileage limit was included in the final frames of the ad underneath the central image of the Kia logo, this information was not on-screen during the visual and voice-over description of the warranty. We subsequently considered that the general impression of the ad, and repeated references to the number seven, was that the warranty would last for seven years regardless of miles driven. We considered that the 100,000 mileage limit was a significant condition of the seven year warranty and as such should have appeared in the main section of the ad. We concluded the mileage limit was not displayed with sufficient clarity and prominence and concluded that TV ad (b) was therefore likely to mislead."

The ASA did, however, reject the complaint that the adverts failed to inform buyers that "the liability of Kia under the warranty was limited solely to the repair or replacement of original parts defective in material or workmanship and did not relate to the wearing of parts through general use." In its response to this part of the complaint, the ASA said: "We understood that wear and tear was damage which naturally and inevitably occurred as a result of normal wear or ageing and that the phrase was used in a legal context for the purpose of warranties. We considered that most consumers would expect car parts to deteriorate as a result of time and mileage and would not expect any wear and tear to be covered by a manufacturers warranty. We also understood that most car manufacturers warranties did not cover wear and tear as standard."

Kia has been told it must not run the ads again in their current form. In a further statement, it said: "At Kia we are very proud of our warranty and are absolutely committed to communicating clearly on it. We believe that this is what we tried to do and that we were in line with other comparable advertisements, nonetheless we accept the ASA ruling and immediately acted to change the advertisements concerned which were back on air prior to the adjudication being released."

Kia Motors (UK) Limited believes that its seven year warranty, which was first introduced on the European-built cee'd in April 2007 and then on the entire Kia line-up from 1 January 2010, remains the best in the industry. As a sign of its commitment to customer reassurance, and as an industry first, all Kia Approved Used Vehicles have been supplied with a warranty equal to that when they were new since April 2009 - this means that any Kia registered from 1 January 2010 and sold under the Approved Used Vehicle scheme will come with the same seven year warranty as a new Kia." The full terms and conditions of Kia's seven-year/100,000-mile warranty can be seen here.

Kia New Vehicle Warranty Terms & Exclusions:

  • There is no mileage limit during the first three years, except for vehicles used as taxis where a limit of 100,000 miles applies. 
  • There is a 100,000 mile limit between years 4 and 7. 
  • Paintwork is covered for 5 years / 100,000 miles. 
  • Audio is covered for 3 years / 60,000 miles. 
  • Batteries are covered for 2 years. 
  • Normal 'wear and tear' on items such as brake linings and clutch linings, etc. are excluded from cover. 
  • The warranty is transferable, at no cost, to subsequent owners and is valid across Europe.

Warranty Direct has warned of the potential for similar rulings in the future: "The ASA ruling is a victory for the consumer against the smoke and mirrors being employed. It's also a lesson to check the small print rather than just being sold on the headline," says Duncan McClure Fisher, managing director of Warranty Direct. "It is going to be interesting to see how the others react," says McClure Fisher. "I'm intrigued to see how Vauxhall now take the lifetime cover to market - is it for lifetime or for 100,000 miles?"

The full adjudication can be seen here.

 

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