ASA Adjudication on Serious Profits Syndicate
Serious Profits Syndicate
30 May 2012
Number of complaints:
Summary of Council decision:
Three issues were investigated and all were Upheld.
A mailing for Serious Profits Syndicate, a betting tipster, seen in March 2012 stated "BREAKING NEWS! Richard Morris lifts the lid on the best-kept secrets in Racing and how you can profit from it ... THIS WILL MAKE YOU MONEY!! ... EVERY BET IS 10/1+ ... I have learned that succeeding in horse-racing and by that I mean making a consistent profit, is all about knowledge and very often who you know coupled with what you know ... We never back any horse that is priced at less than 10/1 That's right. We have always maintained a minimum gamble price of at least 10/1 ... Since the Serious Profits Syndicate was launched in 2007 we have a record of profits each and every year. To just a level 5 points each way on all bets the Service has achieved over ... 12,900 POINTS PROFIT Equivalent to over £12,900 profit to just £5 each way staked per bet A look back at the latest monthly highlights ...". The mailing then featured lists of previous winners, backed by the advertiser, for example "CRAFTY ROBERTO WON 66/1 DUBAI BOUNTY WON 25/1 PENSION PLAN WON 20/1".
The mailing continued "... Whether you start with a betting bank of £25 or £2,500 this method will work for you ... When recently asked how good the information really was, one of the founder partners of the SERIOUS PROFITS SYNDICATE recently and very privately revealed ... ‘It makes other sources of information look so damn difficult to rely on, never again do we have to sweat on a high percentage of winners at short prices, no, we have finally discovered the secret to serious profits’ ... Since the Serious Profits Syndicate began in 2007 each and every year has shown a good profit. 2011 was no exception ... -£3,554 profit to just £5 each way level stakes - Biggest winner: 66/1, one of 25 winners of 20/1 or over Yearly profit in 2011 was 23 TIMES the normal yearly subscription fee. We are ready to make 2012 our 6th consecutive year of great profit. Food for thought ... If we used £100 stakes (£50 each way) like most other services, our profits would be over £35,000 for last year and in excess of £129,000 since we started in 2007 ... Each and every bet is proofed in advance to the racing press ... I'm 100% confident your investment will pay for itself many times over! ... Remember, we have returned huge profits since 2007, last month alone we made a fantastic profit of 324 POINTS, yes 324 POINTS PROFIT in January of this year alone ... Remember - every bet is proofed in advance of racing Every bet is advised on a cheap rate hotline You are covered by a money back guarantee ...".
The complainant challenged whether the following claims were misleading and could be substantiated:
1. the profits that customers could expect to receive as paying members;
2. that Serious Profits Syndicate had accurately predicted the winners listed in the mailing; and
3. that bets were proofed in advance by the racing press.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
Serious Profits Syndicate (SPS) did not respond to the ASA's enquiries.
The ASA was concerned by SPS's lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code rule 1.7 (Unreasonable delay). We reminded SPS of their responsibility to respond promptly to our enquiries and told them to do so in future.
1. We noted the mailing featured several profit-related claims, for instance "a record of profits each and every year", "I'm 100% confident your investment will pay for itself many times over!" and "last month alone we made a fantastic profit of 324 POINTS". We considered that recipients would expect that SPS could demonstrate that such profits and related claims of performance were achievable. We noted however that we had not seen any documentary evidence to substantiate the claims made on profits. We therefore concluded that the mailing was misleading.
On this point the mailing breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation) and 3.11 (Exaggeration).
2. & 3. Upheld
We noted that the mailing included a number of recent winning bets which SPS had claimed they had predicted using the system outlined in the mailing. We also noted that the mailing said that all bets were proofed in advance by the racing press. We considered however that if SPS proofed their bets with a racing publisher, that publisher would need to have demonstrated with documentary evidence that those bets were lodged with them before the relevant races took place and that their 'proofing' system had been approved by an independent third party, for example a reputable firm of accountants or solicitors. Because SPS had not provided evidence that they had accurately predicted the winners outlined in the mailing by proofing their selections in advance, or demonstrated that they had adequately proofed their selections with the racing press, we considered that the claims had not been substantiated and were misleading.
On these points the mailing breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising) and 3.7 (Substantiation).
The mailing must not appear again in its current form. We asked CAP to inform its members of the problem with Serious Profits Syndicate.