South Eastern Trains - Advertising misleading (March 25th 2009)
North Thanetís MP, Roger Gale, has welcomed the adjudication by the Advertising Standards Authority to the effect that South Eastern Trains poster advertising campaign proclaiming faster journey times from East Kent to London was misleading.
The MP, who has consistently claimed that door-to-door journey times by the "fast" link to St. Pancras, due to be introduced in December, will in fact take longer lodged a complaint with the ASA after commuters revealed that South Easternís claims were based on inaccurate figures.
In its adjudication the ASA said that "the December 2009 figures quoted in the ad. Did not correspond with either the estimated a.m. peak journey times or the fastest estimated a.m. peak journey times shown in the data. We consider that greater care should have been taken to ensure that the quoted figures were accurate" adding that "Because there were inaccuracies in the 2009 data and footnoted text we concluded that on this point the ad. was misleading". The ASA also upheld two further points of complaint while dismissing a fourth.
Commenting on the adjudication Roger Gale said:
"I feel that this is a vindication of the stand that I have taken on behalf of those that I represent: South Eastern trains will, in December, effectively be charging more for less and they have sought to make claims for their new service that simply do not stand up to scrutiny. For three years in succession East Kent commuters have faced above-average fare increases and they are also expected to pay a premium price for the new service which will in fact take longer and cost more.
The ASA has said that the ad. "must not appear again in its current form and we expect the advertiser to ensure that similar inaccuracies or misleading claims are not repeated in future advertising".
Hopefully we may now expect rather greater candour in the public statements made by South Eastern Railways"