Avert ruled “misleading” by ASA over earnings claims

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AN ADVERT for a learning group has been found to be “misleading” by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA).

An advert from Montessori Tutors allegedly stated that you could earn more than £32k as a part-time tutor with the company, which the ASA found to have broken the Committees of Advertising Practice code (CAP).

The ASA have now ruled that the advert should not be shown again after publishing their decision on the 28th of April this year.

The advert found to have fallen foul of breaking CAP codes said: “Part-time Job. Train to be a Montessori Tutor & earn £32k+” and “Would you like to become a Private Tutor and earn an average of £625 per week?

“If so, we are looking for motivated and enthusiastic individuals to partner with us and deliver Maths & English lessons online”. 

However, tutors are considered to be self-employed and the only way they would get that amount of money is if they charge over the amount that is shown on the website.

tutor - Business News Scotland
Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash. Montessori Tutors stated that the training provided by them was to equip individuals to tutor online or face-to-face.

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) said: “Montessori Tutors explained that the tutors were considered self-employed and how much they earned was dependant on how successful their advertising was and how many hours they tutored.

“Montessori Tutors believed that it was possible to earn the stated amount by providing online tuition, dependent on experience, location and success rate.

“They stated that according to one job information website, it was reasonable for tutors to earn £30-£42 per hour, which was higher than the figure shown on their website.”

“Montessori Tutors stated that according to the figures on the website, it was possible to earn a salary of over £32,000 working part-time.

“They explained that the mean hourly rate from the figure on the job website was £36 per hour.

“They calculated that a 20-hour week at that rate would earn a tutor £720 per week.

“They explained that if they allowed four weeks annual leave a year, the sum would be multiplied by 48 weeks to achieve a gross annual salary of £34,560.”

money - Business News Scotland
Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash. The learning company has overestimated salaries in the advert.

The ASA believed that consumers would interpret the claim to mean that individuals who had completed the Montessori training and advertised their services via the website could earn £32,000 or more per year on a part-time basis.

The ASA also claimed that, in the context, consumers would expect from the claim that a Montessori private tutor could expect to earn an average of £625 per week. 

They also alleged that prospective candidates looking at the ad would expect the earnings figures to be representative of the earnings of tutors who offered their services via Montessori Tutors.

However, the ASA understood that the earning claims were actually based on ranges quoted in articles on a variety of different websites, which related to private tutors generally rather than tutors who taught the Montessori method.

The regulatory body concluded that the advert had: “Misleading advertising, overstated earning figures, and had given a misleading impression of opportunities after the training course.

The ASA said: “The ad must not appear again in the form complained of. We told Learning Group Ltd t/a Montessori Tutors to ensure they held adequate substantiation for quoted earnings figures.”