Miele ads banned for vacuum cleaner claimsS7 vac ads claimed 20-year vacuum cleaner lifespan

21 October 2009

Meile S7 vacuum cleaner

Adverts for a Miele vacuum cleaner have been banned for making misleading claims about the vac's lifespan.

The press advert for the Miele S7 vacuum cleaner claimed it was designed to last up to 20 years, making it an 'upright that's simply downright better.' A Miele brochure also said the company subjected its vacuum cleaner motors to a 'lifetime test of 1,000 hours - 400 hours beyond that which international test institutes demand'.

Competitor Dyson complained to the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) about the adverts, saying the claims were misleading and challenging whether they could substantiated.

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Vacuum cleaner complaint

Responding to Dyson's complaints, Miele said its test programmes were designed to simulate strain on vacuum cleaners based on average household use and said its test requirements were higher than industry standards.

It said research showed that most people used their vacuum cleaners for less than one hour to one hour a week, so it designed its tests to simulate usage over a 20-year period of approximately 1,000 hours.

Miele said its vacuum cleaner motors achieved between 800 and 950 hours on the highest setting, which was 300-450 hours above standard test regulations, and when the S7 was used on variable power settings, as recommended in the instruction manual, the motor lasted up to 1,200 hours.

You can read expert Which? reviews of Miele vacuum cleaners online. Our section also has reviews of the latest handheld vacuum cleaners, carpet cleaners and carpet stain removers.

ASA verdict on Miele vac claims

The ASA considered that Miele's claims would be interpreted by consumers to mean that it was very likely the vacuum cleaner would still be working in 20 years. Miele's test data showed the S7 would have a lifetime of between 10 and 20 years' use.

The ASA recognised the claim stated that the product was designed to last for 'up to 20 years' and acknowledged Miele had taken steps to ensure that its product would last a long time.

However the ASA believed it was not possible to determine the longevity of the product when used by the consumer and concluded the evidence provided was not sufficient to support the claims made in the ads.

The ASA also considered that consumers would understand the claim: 'We subject our motor to a lifetime test of 1,000 hours - 400 hours beyond that which international test institutes demand' to mean the motor had been tested to ensure it had a lifetime of 1,000 hours and that the test was more rigorous than required by international test standards.

Miele's test data showed the S7 motor would not always last for 1,000 hours, and in some cases would fail at 800 hours. The ASA concluded that on this point the Miele vacuum cleaner ad was misleading.

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