The ASA said Mountain Warehouse's description was not misleading. Photo: Editor5807 CC-BY-SA-3.0

The ASA said Mountain Warehouse's description was not misleading. Photo: Editor5807 CC-BY-SA-3.0

An advertising watchdog has dismissed a claim against outdoors retailer Mountain Warehouse that an online description of an insulated jacket was misleading.

A member of the public said the company’s claim that the garment was tested to -30C was misleading because they it did not protect them from the cold.

The Advertising Standards Agency, the self-regulation body for UK advertising, ruled the Mountain Warehouse description was not misleading, as the jacket had been tested to the relevant standard.

The complainant said the Henry Men’s Down Padded Jacket did not protect them from the cold in mild weather.

The ASA investigated the complaint. It said: “Mountain Warehouse provided results of a test it had commissioned on the jacket’s performance to support its claim that the jacket had successfully been tested for use at -30C.

“They said the test was carried out against a recognised international standard – EN ISO 15731:2004 – and that the results estimated that based on the thermal resistance rating of the jacket and its ‘clo’ rating (a measurement of clothing insulation), a user would be able to withstand temperatures down to -31C while carrying out medium pace activity such as running or skiing, -12C during low pace activity such as walking and 0C if the user was stationary.”

The authority did not uphold the complaint and said no further action was necessary by the retailer.

The watchdog said: “The ASA considered that consumers would interpret the claim made in the ad to mean that in test conditions the jacket had been able to maintain a prescribed degree of warmth in temperatures down to -30C, but that a number of factors would affect their experience of wearing the product in real world conditions.

“They would have their own personal understanding of what was a comfortable temperature and the amount or type of clothing they typically wore in different circumstances to maintain that temperature. The ad listed factors such as ‘physical activity, exposure time & perspiration’.

“While the ad did not detail which type of activity would be necessary to provide protection at -30C or how long one could remain exposed, we considered that consumers would expect that the more active they were, the more likely it was that they would remain comfortable in temperatures of -30C, and the longer they could remain exposed to that temperature.

“The jacket was tested in a laboratory setting in accordance with the ISO standard. Equipment was used to measure temperature across a variety of scenarios and 34 different ‘measurement zones’ and the test certificates demonstrated that the product had been successfully tested to -31C.

“While we acknowledged the complainant’s experience that the jacket had not insulated them from the cold in mild weather, because the jacket had been laboratory tested using an appropriate standard and because we considered that individual experiences of using the product would differ significantly based on a number of factors, some of which were referred to in the ad, we concluded the claim that the jacket was ‘Laboratory tested to -30C’, had been substantiated and was unlikely to mislead.”

Last week the ASA ruled in favour of a complainant who said a description of a pair of Mountain Warehouse boots as waterproof was misleading.

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