Research

Optical chain fined $69k for misleading ad

Boots Opticians published an advertisent in The Times in January 2015, which contained multiple overstating claims about blue light and the benefits of its BPPB lenses according the UK’s optical regulator, the General Optical Council (GOC).The finding came after multiple complaints were lodged with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about the content of the ad.Complaints related to claims that blue light from LED TVs, smartphones and energy saving light bulbs caused damage to retinal cells over time, and that BPPB lenses protected against blue light from these sources. The authority found that these claims were misleading and unsubstantiated.It was later revealed that despite the ASA’s ruling, some Boots practices were still making the misleading claims about the lenses through in-store leaflets.In handing down the fine, which had to be paid within 30 days, the GOC found that Boots’ fitness to practise as a business registrant was impaired and that it had gained a financial advantage through promoting the lenses.“The committee imposed this level of fine to mark the seriousness of the misconduct and to send a signal to the business registrant, the profession and the public reinforcing the high standards of conduct and behaviour expected of all registrants,” a transcript of the GOC’s decision read.The GOC took into account the fact that Boots had already incurred financial costs as a consequence of the advertisent and also suffered, and continued to suffer, reputational damage as a result of the transgression before imposing the fine.