Claims made by an essay writing service, operated by Thoughtbridge Consulting Limited (“Thoughtbridge”), have failed to make the grade. Various text on the website (www.essaywritingserviceuk.co.uk) did not meet the ASA’s compliance criteria; the main criticism being that the claims, together with the overall impression given by the website, misled consumers by suggesting they could submit purchased essays as their own without repercussions.
The ASA outlined the initial complaint as follows:
- “Get the grade you ordered”, “Plagiarism free” and “The work you order will never be re-used or re-sold” misleadingly implied that consumers could hand the essay in as their own; and
- “Grade guarantee Get the grade you ordered” was misleading and could not be substantiated.
For consumers prepared to do their homework, they could find information about how the services should be used. This further information stated that submitting a purchased essay as your own was cheating. However, these warnings were not immediately obvious or accessible (e.g. a consumer would have to click on the “About” link or navigate the FAQ page) and the risks were not mentioned at all during the order process.
Further, the ASA decided that consumers would understand the Grade guarantee claim “to mean that any essay they ordered would be at the grade they specified, for example, a 2:1 and that this would be the grade they achieved if they handed the work in as their own”. That was not the case.
In summary, Thoughtbridge need to fundamentally re-think their approach to advertising in order to be compliant with the Code. We all have to learn from our mistakes, let's hope they are willing to do the same. Click here for the full ruling.
The ASA considered the overall impression of the home page was that consumers would be able to submit the purchased essays as their own, particularly because of the claims that essays would be plagiarism-free, and the grade guarantee. In that context we considered that consumers would understand from the challenged claims that they could purchase an essay of a particular grade that was plagiarism-free to hand in as their own work.