Last year, the CMA launched a call for information looking at consumer protection in the UK green heating and insulation sector, focusing on the sale of the following products for the home: heat pumps; home solar; insulation; biomass boilers and hydrogen-ready boilers and published its findings in May. It identified concerns that some businesses are making misleading claims about products and some are engaging in greenwashing, as well as concerns about limited transparency of price information.
The CMA has now launched an investigation into whether Worcester Bosch is misleading shoppers with confusing or inaccurate green claims in the advertising and labelling of its boiler products, which would breach the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
The investigation will focus on Worcester Bosch’s so-called “hydrogen-blend ready” home boilers, and whether the marketing claims made about them may mislead shoppers into thinking they are more environmentally friendly than they are.
The CMA’s investigation will look at several marketing practices including the use of:
- Labels or text stating that Worcester Bosch’s boilers can run on a blend of 20% hydrogen and natural gas, which may give the impression this is a special feature despite all boilers in the UK being legally required to operate this way since the mid-1990s.
- Information and messaging on the use of hydrogen for home heating in the UK – despite this not currently being available and its introduction being potentially years away and depending on future government decisions.
- Descriptions and information about the environmental benefits of ‘hydrogen-blend ready’ boilers which may falsely suggest that these boilers will reduce a household’s carbon footprint.
This action comes as part of the CMA’s wider work looking at consumer protection issues in the green heating and insulation sector. The CMA has also written to 12 other businesses that sell hydrogen-blend boilers, after reviewing their marketing, to warn them that they could be breaching consumer protection law and to remind them of their legal obligations.
The CMA will now engage with Worcester Bosch and gather further evidence to consider whether Worcester Bosch may have broken consumer protection law. It emphasises that it should not be assumed that the business under investigation has broken consumer protection law.