An ad has been banned for implying that students could submit bought essays as their own without repercussion and with the guarantee of a grade of their choosing.
The website homepage for Essay Writing Service UK, seen in May, stated: “Get the grades you need and achieve more today! Grade Guarantee. Get the grade you ordered first time, or your money back. Free plagiarism report with every order. The work you order will never be re-used or re-sold.”
A reader complained that the website misleadingly implied that consumers could hand the essay in as their own and that its “grade guarantee” was also misleading and unsubstantiated.
Thoughtbridge Consulting, trading as Essay Writing Service UK, said it did not make any claim that the work produced was to be used for anything other than as a model answer.
The company said it was made clear that the work was provided under the agreement and that it was to be used as a guide to help the customer create their own unique answer that would help them to achieve the grade they wished to achieve.
It said at no time did it make the claim that a student would be guaranteed to get any grade, which it explained would be academic misconduct and plagiarism.
Upholding the complaint, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said consumers would understand from the claims that they could purchase an essay of a particular grade that was plagiarism-free to hand in as their own work.
It added that even if consumers had read the website’s “Is this cheating?” page, the relevant FAQs or the guarantee page, these were insufficient to counteract the overall misleading impression given by the website that consumers would be able to submit purchased essays as their own without repercussions.
It said: “Because we considered consumers would expect from the ad that they could submit purchased essays as their own without risks, which was not the case, we concluded that the ad was misleading.”
It also noted that the website was not clear that consumers would be eligible for a refund if they did not achieve the indicated grade, rather than the implication that they would achieve the grade for which they had paid.
The ASA ruled that the ad must not appear in its current form again, adding: “We told Thoughtbridge to ensure that their website did not misleadingly imply that students could submit purchased essays as their own without risks. Further, we told them to ensure that they did not misleadingly imply that all grades were guaranteed when that was not the case.”