ASA Adjudication on Inside Guides Ltd
Inside Guides Ltd t/a
Lake View House
4 Lake Meadows
25 January 2012
Number of complaints:
An e-mail, for a betting tipster system, viewed on 3 October 2011, had the subject line "Arbitrage: Heads you Win, Tails you Win!" Further text stated " ... Our friend Ben was happily making money at it, and then took the concept on by about a million miles ... and to over a mind boggling, one and a half million quid! ... The Online Loopholes system reveals the secrets and techniques Ben has painstakingly developed to make profits through the bookmakers and the exchanges; he shows you exactly what to do, so you can make money with no risk of any loss ... It's like the cashpoint from heaven ... You hit the buttons, it gives you money! And you can exchange any number of these joining bonuses into real cash with no risk whatsoever ... Amongst all the online bookmakers, there's around £25,000 in bonuses on offer. That's not £25,000 in total ... it adds up to a mind-boggling £25,000 for YOU to claim. £25,000 for YOU! ... The only risk you run is to miss the daily winnings! ... You have nothing to lose - in fact it's impossible to lose".
The complainant challenged whether the winnings claims made in the ad were misleading and could be substantiated.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
Inside Guides, the publishers of Martyn Stevens' service, responded on his behalf. They said the advertised service was supplied by a third party and prior to the present complaint they had received no complaints about the ad or product. They said the service ensured that it was impossible to lose and was proofed with a third party. They said the £1.5 million referred to in the ad was the cumulative amount that the third party service provider estimated subscribers had generated since the service had been marketed. They referred the ASA to the third-party's website and said that demonstrated that the system had amassed around £1.5 million.
The ASA noted the ad included statements about the guaranteed success of the system and the potential winnings that consumers could make. In that context, we considered that recipients would expect that Martyn Stevens could demonstrate that the winnings claims were achievable.
We considered that, in order to substantiate claims that they had achieved a certain level of profit, betting tipster marketers should be able to provide evidence that they had 'proofed' their forecasts of winners. We noted that the CAP guidance stated that that should be done by lodging all forecasts with an independent third party, such as a well-known and reputable firm of accountants or solicitors, before the events to which they refer took place. We considered that, because we had not seen documentary evidence that Martyn Stevens had proofed his forecasts with an appropriate independent third party, the winnings claims made in the ad had not been substantiated. We therefore concluded that the ad was misleading.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation) and 3.11 (Exaggeration).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Martyn Stevens to ensure they held robust evidence to substantiate all claims in future.