A web page on a website, www.carcashpoint.co.uk for Car Cash Point Ltd, seen on 1 June 2017, titled “Reviews” which featured a testimonial from Miss T Will, London and was headed “The Truth about Varoomas’ extortionate fees and charges”. The testimonial went on to state, “I wanted to write a review about the simply outstanding support I received from Car Cash Point when I decided I wanted to switch my loan from Varooma. I had previously had a loan from Varooma (Green Light) and as a result of their extremely sharp business practices, had decided to re-finance with Car Cash Point. A significant driver behind this decision to switch lenders was Varoomas’ extortionate fee’s [sic] levied against my account … My warning to anyone reading this is be careful who you deal with and in my experience never deal with Varooma, they should not be allowed to trade”.
Varooma challenged whether the testimonial was denigratory.
Car Cash Point Ltd stated that they were not denigrating Varooma as they were not expressing an opinion; rather it was an honest and factual representation of a genuine customer experience.
The CAP Code stated that marketing communications must not discredit or denigrate another product or marketer. We considered that by selecting the testimonial to appear on their list of reviews, Car Cash Point had approved the content and message within the testimonial, which referred to the service offered by Varooma.
We noted that the testimonial referred to the customer’s experience with Varooma and made reference to “sharp business practices” and stated that they “should not be allowed to trade”, which we considered implied that they were not honest or professional. We considered that the testimonial went beyond critical comment and attacked Varooma’s business practices. We therefore concluded that in the context in which the testimonial appeared, the ad denigrated Varooma and was in breach of the Code.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 3.42 3.42 Marketing communications must not discredit or denigrate another product, marketer, trade mark, trade name or other distinguishing mark. (Imitation and Denigration).
The ads must not appear again in their current form. We told Car Cash Point Ltd to ensure that they did not denigrate their competitors.