The ASA throws the book at De Verde / John Hickman / Hydrogenhybrids.uk.com

After a really long wait the ASA have finally upheld my complaint about De Verde / Hydrogenhybrids.uk.com Complaint number A13-228861. Previous complaints to the ASA formally upheld about Mr. Hickman’s companies include A11-155520 and A12-182972.

Over a year ago I complained that the efficacy claims for the products were misleading and could be substantiated, and that the claim “all testimonials are from actual real customers!” also could be substantiated.

True to their narcissistic MO, de Verde then posted the following to bullshit to their own website:

“Following a complaint from a sceptic,we were reported to Trading Standards: we had to provide proof of our claims about fuel gains & emissions. After an investigation, we have received the following: ” You have provided evidence that supports your claims about your products.” They have also recommended us to carry on with our testing policy with the aim of using an accredited test house, which we will now pursue. A copy of the Trading Standards Letter available on request ( we ask that you give name, address & contact phone number)”

Well, today the truth can be read here on the ASA website; my complaints were upheld, de Verde do not have any real data on their fuel saving gizmos and they cannot demonstrate that their many of testimonials are from real people.

The ASA said:

  • We concluded that the evidence provided in relation to improvements in fuel economy/MPG was not sufficiently robust and the claims had not been substantiated.
  • We concluded that the evidence provided in relation to lower emissions was not sufficiently robust and the claims had not been substantiated.
  • We concluded that the evidence provided in relation to improvements in torque was not sufficiently robust and the claims had not been substantiated.
  • On this point the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation) and 11.3 (Environmental claims).
  • Because the claim referred to “all testimonials” and at least one of the testimonials included on their website could not be proven to be genuine we concluded the claim had not been substantiated.
  • On this point the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising) and 3.45 (Endorsements and testimonials).

The ASA they concluded that:
“The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told de Verde not to make efficacy claims for their products unless they held robust evidence to support them. We also told them to ensure that their use of testimonials complied with the requirements of the CAP Code.”

Despite an extensive rewording of there website, de Verde (hydrogenhybrids.uk.com or whatever the Hickmans want to call themselves) have yet to comply with the ASA’s ruling. Still on the website are the following misleading and/or untrue statements:

  • Our systems have been independently, third-party tested.
    Not and been shown to work they haven’t.
  • NASA saw the potential and published a positive report..
    No they did not, NASA tested something vaguely similar in 1977 but it was not HHO.
  • Sands Sport Magazine in the USA, (feb/march 2013) , published a review of HHO Technolgy [sic], proving the technology works without doubt, showing good mpg gains & emission reductions. – Mike Sommers, the Editor has sent us a copy.
    What, this article that (wrongly) goes on and on and on about how someone elses HHO system is the only one that works?
  • The huge database of vehicle we have fitted our systems to over the past seven years gives us the data to produce positive results.
    If they had a huge database that showed that HHO worked then they would have shown it to the ASA and they would not ave ruled against de Verde.
  • We have had our systems third party tested for emission reductions and fuel efficiciency [sic], with proven results, resulting in large orders, especially for the overseas market in some countries.
    No they don’t, no credible third party has shown any HHO system to work.
  • A “Green” magazine, tested our system and achieved a 30% fuel saving, with very low emissions!
    What “Green”[sic] magazine? No one has ever show HHO to work when using a credible testing method.
  • When will i see a return on investment?- You should start to see a return on your investment within the first tankful, but will feel the difference immediately!
    Not true. They have no evidence that HHO works and so they can’t say that you will see or feel any benefit.
  • We now manufacture a range of products with just one goal – to prove beyond doubt that the technology will save you money each time you fill up, but also reduce your emissions.
    This may actually be true, but it is still misleading since they have no evidence that HHO will save you any money or reduce your emissions.

2 Comments

  1. D. Measures:

    I can only speak from personal experience and have found that a slight improvement noticeable on acceleration through the revolution ranges, a slight increase of miles to the gallon approaching 10% and cleaner exhausting to such an effect that nil readings were found during MOT’s. (Subsequently checked independently via the servicing specialists as nil emissions.)

    My article in the Jaguar Enthusiasts Club magazine of September 2012, (p.34/35)will verify my statements above of my findings. As recently as October 2013, (club magazine)another member reported on his extended trials and proved the claim of 20% improvement in mpg.

    Certainly I believe in general, Hydrogen technology applied in some form to motor vehicles, (check Honda’s current development programme)and the appears to me, as rather assumptive.

  2. Jon:

    Dear D. Measures,

    I am not attacking you personally, I sincerely hope that you do not feel that way. You have been duped by a very competent con man; you are not the first and won’t be the last; your article reads as though you are very keen for it to work and when it didn’t you go back again and again and again until you find the improvement you were looking for.

    This is not a fair test; you are totally biased, the test is anything but blinded, it is not repeatable, the improvements are tiny and unsubstantiated…it is the opposite of science…

    Personal experience is anecdote, science does not trust anecdote because humans are so very fallible. Personal experience and anecdote is why so many people believe that homeopathy works. This is one reason we have science, to separate what we believe to be true from what is true. Science has tested HHO very many times and it has never found it to work while many humans continue to argue, against all logic and reason, that it does.

    As for Honda and many other motor manufacturers, not one single one of them has any interest in on-board-supplementary-hydrogen as an aid to emissions reduction or fuel economy improvement; suggesting that they do is just another trick in the conman’s book. Honda, and others, are interested in hydrogen as a fuel; this is not hydrogen as a fuel, it is diesel/petrol as a fuel and hydrogen as a very-inefficient way of converting that fuel into another fuel and then burning that as well.

    If HHO worked then it would violate the first and second laws of thermodynamics; it does not work and the laws of thermodynamics hold true.

    If you are serious about testing this then please take a vehicle fitted with it to a real testing station (I suggest Millbrook) and get them to test it properly; I guarantee that you will find that it makes the fuel consumption slightly worse (as the laws of thermodynamics require) and not better. Then write an article about that.

    Jon.

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