War over Kia warranty adverts

* Independent warranty provider complains * Claims Kia warranty ads are misleading * Two of three complaints upheld by regulator...

War over Kia warranty adverts

Kia's adverts about its extended warranty have been censured by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) after complaints from rival warranty provider Warranty Direct .

The ASA upheld two of three complaints made about Kia's seven-year warranty ads.

Claims were 'misleading'
Warranty Direct complained that Kia's ads for its seven-year warranty were misleading. It said the adverts failed to give enough prominence to the 100,000-mile limit in years four to seven, and that it didn't highlight that different items were covered for different lengths of time.

Both of these complaints were upheld by the ASA, which said although the mileage limit was displayed, it was not on-screen during the visual and voice-over description of the warranty.

The ASA also ruled that most consumers would assume that all items covered by the warranty would be covered for the same seven-year period. However, the battery is covered for just two years, whereas the stereo is protected for three years, and the paint for five, so this assumption is proved to be incorrect. Other items such as wiper blades and clutch linings are also covered for less than seven years.

A member of the public complained that the 100,000-mile limit had been missing from adverts, and this was upheld by the ASA, too.

Complaint dismissed
Warranty Direct also complained that the adverts were misleading because they did not make clear that the warranty covers only the repair or replacement of defective parts, not those which fail through wear and tear.

The ASA felt that most consumers would not expect items that have failed through wear and tear to be covered and, consequently did not uphold this objection.

'Technical infringement'
A spokesperson from Kia said: 'We understand and accept the ASA's judgement, but feel this is a technical infringement. It was never our intention to mislead and we still believe Kia's warranty is the best and most transparent policy.

'We were back on air with the advert on August 5th and literally had to change one word to abide by the ruling.'

Kias advert now says 'terms and exclusions apply' rather than 'terms and conditions apply'.

What are warranties worth?
Warranty Direct has made a successful business out of providing extended cover once the traditional three-year manufacturer protection has expired.

With Chevrolet, Hyundai, Kia and Toyota now all offering warranties of more than three years, and Vauxhall launching a lifetime of cover, its opportunities for new business appear to be shrinking.

A whatcar.com poll revealed that readers are not an easy touch when it comes to warranties, with 37% recognising that the worth of the Vauxhall Lifetime offer depends on the terms and conditions. An even greater proportion 45% views the Vauxhall offer as merely a marketing ploy.

Mileage limits
Most of us drive around 10,000 miles a year, so the 100,000-mile limit on Kia, Toyota or Vauxhall policies shouldn't be a problem if you are going to keep the car for more than three years.

Second owners
The second owner of a Vauxhall will be covered by the new lifetime offer only on payment of a still-undisclosed fee.

Depending on the cost of this, an independent provider might be able to offer cover for less.

Chevrolet's cover is transferable to a new owner for 15 if sold through a dealer, or 25 if the car is sold privately.

The best cover depends on the breadth and depth of the parts covered and those that are excluded. It's time consuming, but picking through the terms and conditions is the only way to compare policies and decide which one offers the best value for money.