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Textile recycler falls foul of advertising code

A Liverpool-based textiles recycling company has been ordered to change advertising copy on its collection bags because it gave the misleading impression that donations would be going directly to a charity. 

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) made the ruling against Recycle Proline Ltd following a complaint.

The ASA said clothing collection bags delivered by the company had the words ‘Cancer Research & Genetics UK’ and a charity reference number in large text, while smaller text stated: “Recycle Proline Ltd is a commercial company which collects second hand clothing and donates at least £3,200 per month to Cancer Research & Genetics UK from the proceeds of sale …”.

Further text on the bag included “Please help us to raise funds for Cancer Research & Genetics UK” and “Fundraises to further our campaign to raise awareness of cancer and its genetics links in UK and Europe”.

A recipient of a Recycle Proline bag complained that the presentation was misleading because it did not make sufficiently clear the commercial nature of the business, given the prominence of the charity message.

The ASA ruled that the advertising broke its code, although it noted that the company had made changes to the design of clothing collection bags following a previous complaint.

“As such, [the company] felt that it had already sufficiently addressed any potentially misleading aspects of the ad. It believed the new complaint was without merit, and expressed concerns that making further amendments could have a detrimental impact on its business,” the ASA said.

The ASA acknowledged that changes had been made but upheld the complaint, saying there was no mention of the advertiser’s name or company status on the front of the bag, which was likely to have the greatest impact on recipients.

“We also noted that, overall, the charity name and registration number were given more prominence than details of the company undertaking the collection. We considered that this was likely to give consumers the misleading impression that they were donating directly to the charity.”

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