Earlier this year the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) found against two e-bike companies, Swytch and Cyrusher. Responding to complainants, the ASA's rulings related to seemingly time and stock limited offers in the case of Swytch, and how the provision of a throttle and speed 'unlocking' were presented in Cyrusher's advertising.
The ASA describes itself as, "The UK’s independent advertising regulator whose job it is to make sure ads across UK media stick to the advertising rules (the Advertising Codes)."
The Swytch case centred on stock and price information on the company website in autumn 2022. The ASA found that the time and stock limited offers. One page variously stated, “EARLY ACCESS 60% OFF – ENDS IN 1 DAY”, “13,709 SOLD ALREADY” and “291 LEFT” - with similar claims made on other dates.
The ASA found these could not be substantiated.
Cyrusher's case before the ASA concerned two models, the 'XF900 Cyrusher Motorcycle-Style Ebike' and the 'XF650 Cyrusher Affordable Ebike'.
The XF900 was described as having 750W of power and a top speed of 31 miles per hour. Though the Cyrusher website also stated, "...when you receive your new ebike now, there will be no throttle on the handlebar, and the motor is restricted to 250watts [sic] with a top speed of 15.5mph," they added that a throttle was available in the box and that their website offered clear instructions on speed derestriction.
The XF650 had similar claims as to motor power and a YouTube video reference to a 26mph-plus top speed accompanied by the the advice to, “be sure to abide by all local laws and restrictions."
Rulings and actions
In the case of Swytch, the ASA concluded that the firm had not demonstrated that an RRP of £1,299 or the reference price implied by the “60% OFF” claim was the price at which the product was generally sold. "Therefore, because we had not seen evidence that the savings claim represented a genuine saving against the usual selling price of the product, we concluded the savings claims and RRP were misleading."
The ASA said: "The ads must not appear again in the form complained about... We also told [Swytch] to ensure their ads did not misleadingly imply that discount offers were stock or time-limited, or that consumers needed to act more quickly than was necessary to take advantage of an offer."
ebiketips checked the Swytch website at the time of writing and could not find any £RRP given - only an offer to sign up to the waiting list for the next "stock drop".
In the case of Cyrusher, the ASA, "considered that, in the absence of any information being provided by the advertiser to the contrary, it was likely that neither bike met the requirements for classification as a compliant EAPC, and both were motor vehicles."
The ASA told Cyrusher that, "The ads must not appear again in the form complained of. We told Cyrusher Outdoor Sporting Ltd to ensure their future ads were socially responsible and did not misleadingly imply that the advertised bikes could be used as electrically assisted pedal cycles and were not subject to the same legal requirements as motor vehicles."
ASA say they monitor firms to ensure they have complied and that, "if advertisers and broadcasters persistently break the Advertising Codes and don’t work with us, we can refer them to other bodies for further action, such as Trading Standards or Ofcom." Indeed, ebiketips has previously reported the case of Mate where the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) prosecuted for "supplying e-bikes with motors and assistance limits in excess of those required to be considered an electrically assisted pedal cycle (EPAC) under UK law."