A radio ad for a claims management company, CheckMyPaydayLoan.com, broadcast on 20 September 2017. The ad featured a voice-over that stated, "Ever had a time in your life where you've been forced to rely on payday loans and then struggled to make the repayments? You could be entitled to compensation. At Check My Payday Loan, we'll do a hassle free, no obligation check. And if you've got grounds for a case, we'll do the rest. Easy as that. All you need to do is send us a text and we'll take it from there. What are you waiting for? Text CLAIM to [text number] to find out if you have a case. That's CLAIM to [text number]. Or visit [website]."
The complainant, who was informed that there were other requirements such as sending the advertiser paperwork and bank statements before a claim could be progressed, challenged whether the ad misleadingly exaggerated the ease of using the service.
Global, the broadcaster, who responded on behalf of Allay Claims Ltd t/a CheckMyPaydayLoan.com, said the line “if you’ve got grounds for a case, we’ll do the rest” referred to CheckMyPaydayLoan.com moving the claim forward and liaising with the lenders on behalf of the claimant. The reference to “grounds for a case” indicated that there were criteria that must be met before CheckMyPaydayLoan.com proceeded with a claim. Some of the criteria for taking the claim would be assessed through asking the potential claimant questions over the telephone and some would be assessed through looking at previous bank statements or paperwork that must be submitted by the potential claimants. They said the line “All you need to do is send us a text and we’ll take it from there” meant that when a potential claimant sent a text to CheckMyPaydayLoan.com, they would then assess whether the claimant had grounds for a claim. The said the service was “hassle free” and that CheckMyPaydayLoan.com would not cold-call or pester claimants into pursuing a claim.
Radiocentre stated that the ad first referred to a “no obligation check” and then to “and if you’ve got grounds for a case, we’ll do the rest … send us a text and we’ll take it from there”. They believed that listeners in general would understand that to mean if they took up the full service following their initial text, it would be at that point when the paperwork and other information would be needed. They therefore did not consider the ad to be misleading.
The ASA considered most consumers were unlikely to be familiar with the process of making claims for compensation against short-term loan or payday loan lenders. We noted the ad included references, such as “a hassle free, no obligation check”, “if you’ve got grounds for a case, we’ll do the rest”, “easy as that”, “all you need to do is send us at text and we’ll take it from there” and “Text CLAIM to [text number] to find out if you have a case”. We considered some people might expect they would not need to do anything else after sending a text to CheckMyPaydayLoan.com. However, we considered consumers were likely to expect from the ad that once they sent a text, CheckMyPaydayLoan.com would be able to determine if they had grounds for a claim soon after without them having to provide extensive information.
We understood CheckMyPaydayloan.com offered services that facilitated claims made against short-term or payday lenders on grounds of irresponsible lending. We further understood a claim of that nature would involve establishing whether the creditor had lent irresponsibly based on the claimant’s individual financial circumstances, which would include a more detailed examination of, for example, loan agreements, bank statements and claimants’ correspondence with lenders.
Because that process would require potential claimants to provide more information than they would expect from the ad before a claim could even be made against the lender, we considered that the ad exaggerated the ease and speed of progressing a claim with CheckMyPaydayLoan.com. For those reasons, we concluded that the ad was likely to mislead.
The ad breached BCAP Code rules 3.1 3.1 Advertisements must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. (Misleading advertising) and 3.12 3.12 Advertisements must not mislead by exaggerating the capability or performance of a product or service. (Exaggeration).
The ad must not be broadcast in its current form again. We told CheckMyPaydayLoan.com to ensure that future ads did not misleadingly exaggerate the ease and speed of progressing a claim with them.