Complaint alleged broker’s claim was based on flawed research

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has dismissed a complaint that a claim by HomeServe over home water pipe damage was based on a flawed survey.

The home emergency insurance broker sent out letters to householders last year, telling them that with one in 14 homeowners having suffered a water supply problem at “some point”, if they were a homeowner, they would generally be responsible for the repairs to damaged water pipes.

The statistic was based on an independent survey commissioned by HomeServe of 991 respondents in January 2013.

But a recipient of one of the letters challenged whether the claim was misleading and could be proven, because he believed the survey on which the claim was based was flawed.

Responding to the complaint, HomeServe said the claim was based on the findings of independent research by Ipsos MORI, the results of which were supplied to the ASA.

The ASA did not uphold the complaint and said no further action was necessary.

The research had found that 67% of house or bungalow owners, aged 25 and over, said they had reported a pipe burst or leak within the last five years, with the remainder reporting a longer period or being unable to remember.

The ASA said: “We considered that the claim suggested that a representative survey of UK house (or bungalow) owners had been carried out recently and had shown that one in 14 had experienced a burst or leak in the pipe that supplied water to their home.

“Because we considered the evidence HomeServe had supplied substantiated the claim, we concluded that it was not misleading.”