Sanral’s ad deceives

 File Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

File Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

The SA National Roads Agency Ltd (Sanral) has come out guns blazing over its e-tag sales following an Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruling which states it mislead the public through a radio commercial.

“We would like to take this opportunity to set the record straight around the e-tag sales figures. Do note that these remain unaudited,” Sanral spokesperson Vusi Mona said in a statement yesterday afternoon.

This follows the ruling by the ASA, which found that Sanral had failed to provide proof in sales as it had indicated in the commercial, despite being given a month to do so.

The complaints were launched by media consultant Rob Hutchinson and consumers Sheleen Long and Stephen Haywood. In the advert, Sanral thanks people and organisations for purchasing 1.2 million e-tags. It then states people “recognised the benefits of the improved roads”.

The complainants suggested that despite requests for Sanral to provide proof that these were in fact the sales figures it had neglected to do so. The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa), through its own research, claims to have physically counted 250 000 e-tags sold. Further, Haywood disputed Sanral’s claim of the monthly e-toll for a road user of R100 to be ambiguous and disingenuous.

Sanral was granted extra time to respond, but failed to do so once again in stating it was still waiting on feedback for the query on the number of registered motorists.

Advertisers are required by Section 4.1 of 2 of the code to “hold substantiation”, in implied claims, the ASA said in its ruling.

Mona said Sanral was “extremely aware of the scrutiny” its advertising is exposed to.

“…And as a result we continuously strive to provide information which we believe is truthful and accurate… Sanral has no intention of misleading the public. ”

In seeking to explain, Mona said “e-tag sales” were reported in the media, which “sensationalised the matter”.

“Also, because the terminology used in the different questions was interchangeable, some misunderstanding might have arisen.”


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