Black & Decker car battery advert falls flatAdvert rapped for misleading motorists

12 March 2008

A TV ad for a Black & Decker battery booster has been criticised for implying it could start a car with a dead battery.

The commercial for the Simple Start device claimed you could simply plug it into the car lighter and ‘within minutes you're good to go’.

But viewers complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that it could actually take up to 20 minutes to recharge the car's battery - and wouldn't work at all if the battery was completely flat.

Black & Decker told the ASA there was no official standard for a completely flat battery.

Engine failure

But the company admitted that if a battery had less than 2.5 volts left, rather than the usual 12 volts, the Simple Start device might not be able to start the car.

Black & Decker said the device took up to 15 minutes to charge the battery but was sometimes faster, depending on how flat the battery was.

But the ASA said the ad was misleading because it didn't make clear the product was merely a battery charger and also gave the impression that it would work for most engine failures. 

Flat battery

It said the claim that it would work in minutes was also misleading  because it could take up to 20 minutes for the device to charge the battery.

The ASA told Black & Decker to ensure that future ads made clear the Simple Start - which we found for sale online at £37 - was a battery booster that couldn't start a car if the battery was completely flat.

Black & Decker has also been told to take out the ‘within minutes you're good to go’ claim.