Summary of Council decision:
Five issues were investigated, all of which were Upheld
This Ruling forms part of a wider piece of work on Lead Generation Marketing, identified for investigation following intelligence gathered by the ASA.
See also related rulings published on 8 February 2023.
Three paid-for Facebook ads and a website, seen in August 2022:
a. The paid-for Facebook ad for UK Life Protection contained a blue text box that stated “Life insurance for busy parents, fast decision” along with three examples of costs for life cover: “£300,000 from £5.24/mo, £500,000 from £13.74/mo, £700,000 from £17.23/mo”. Below, text stated “Save Up to 65% on Life Insurance Cover. Life insurance Cover that fits your [sic] for as little as 25p per day”. The ad contained a link to ad (b).
b. The website for UK Life Protection www.uklifeprotection.co.uk, contained a yellow banner with the text “Get your life insurance quote”. Below, text stated ”Complete the questionaire [sic] to start building quotes to compare” and “Choose your gender to start” with male and female option buttons. Further survey questions followed which when completed showed a moving radar which passed over various insurance providers. Following that, text stated “Thank you. One of our expert team will be calling you very soon to discuss your life cover quotes”.
c. The paid-for Facebook ad for British Life Cover, contained text “Best policy. Best price, That is our promise to you and your Family. Our Life Cover Policies start from less than 25p a day with No Medical. Try it Risk Free with our 30 Day Money Back Guarantee”. Beneath that, text in a box stated “NO MEDICAL EXAM LIFE INSURANCE as low as £3.25/mo £100,000 coverage Tap age group” with six possible age options. At the bottom, text stated “Get a Free Online Quote 20 Seconds” and “We want to make life insurance easier for you”. The ad contained a link “quote now” which linked through to a website landing page that was the same as ad (b) in a different colour.
d. The paid-for Facebook ad for British Life Benefits, contained text “New Programme Helps UK Residents Qualify to get Life Insurance Cover for as little as £3 per month with no Medical Exams” and “Try it Risk Free with our 30-Day Money back Guarantee”. Below, a text in a box stated “NO MEDICAL EXAM LIFE INSURANCE”, with and a tick symbols next to the words “NO MEDICAL EXAM” and “NO WAITING PERIOD”. The box also contained examples of cover levels: “£100,000 from £3.25/mo, £250,000 FROM £7.62/mo, £500,000 FROM £13.25/Mo alongside arrows. Beneath the examples, text stated “TAP AGE GROUP” along with six age group options which were split into decades from 20s through to 70’s+. The ad contained a link “quote now” which reached a website landing page that was identical to ad (b) in a different colour.
The ASA challenged whether:
1. all of the ads were misleading because they implied the advertisers’ websites could provide online quotes and did not make clear they were a lead generation service;
2. ads (a), (c) and (d) were misleading because they did not make clear the basis of the stated cover levels, or that the level of cover was based on factors including age, health and lifestyle;
3. the claim “save up to 65% on Life Insurance Cover” in ad (a) was misleading and could be substantiated;
4. the claim “Best Policy, Best Price. That is our promise to you and your family” in ad (c) was misleading and could be substantiated; and
5. the claim “Try it Risk Free with our 30 day Money Back Guarantee” in ads (c) and (d) was misleading and could be substantiated.
1 - 5. Digital Results Group GMBH (Digital Results Group) did not respond to the ASA’s enquiries.
The ASA was concerned by Digital Result Group GMBH’s lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.7 (Unreasonable delay). We reminded them of their responsibility to provide a substantive response to our enquiries and told the to do so in the future.
The CAP Code stated that marketing communications must not falsely claim or imply that the marketer was acting for purposes outside its trade, craft or profession and should make clear the commercial intent if that was not obvious from the context.
We considered that consumers would understand from ads (a), (c) and (d) that if they followed the relevant links contained within the ads, they would begin the process of generating personalised life insurance quotes that they could review immediately. The ads linked through to ad (b), which stated, “Complete the questionnaire [sic] to start building quotes to compare”. The page also guided consumers to input their personal details before they reached a final page containing the text “Thank you. One of our expert team will be calling you very soon to discuss your life cover quotes”. Therefore, rather than providing consumers with a number of life insurance quotes, the ad collected consumers’ personal information, which was then passed to other businesses.
Because the ads were for a lead generation company, and that was not made clear, we concluded that the ad was misleading and breached the Code.
On that point, the ads breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 2.3 (recognition of marketing communications) and 3.1 (Misleading advertising).
The ads made a number of different claims stating amounts for insurance cover and the cost per month. We noted the claim “NO MEDICAL EXAM LIFE INSURANCE” in ads (c) and (d) and the lack of any reference to limitations or qualifications that applied to the quoted figures. We understood that life insurance quotes would likely be dependent on a number of factors that would include age, health, gender and lifestyle. We considered that whether or not those factors were taken into consideration by an insurance provider would be material information consumers would need in order to make an informed decision as whether or not to make an application.
However, the ads did not make clear whether the level of cover was based on those factors, or the basis of the stated cover levels.
Because the ads omitted material information relating to the basis of the stated cover levels, we concluded that the ads were misleading.
On that point, ads (a), (c) and (d) breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 and 3.3 (Misleading advertising), and 3.9 (Qualification).
The ad stated “save up to 65% on Life Insurance Cover”. However, it did not make clear the basis on which consumers could supposedly make a saving, and the claim was therefore ambiguous.
Nevertheless, we expected to see evidence to demonstrate that consumers could achieve the stated saving. However, the advertiser did not provide any evidence, and we therefore concluded the claims had not been substantiated and were misleading.
On that point, ad (a) breached the CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading Advertising) and 3.7 (Substantiation).
We considered that consumers would understand the claims “Best Policy, Best Price. That is our promise to you and your family” to mean that the life insurance policy they were able to provide was the most suitable product from across the whole life insurance market, and that they would provide that policy at the cheapest price when compared against other life insurance providers.
We expected to see evidence relating to the life insurance policies they provided as well as their policy prices compared against other products on the market. However, Digital Results Group did not provide us with any evidence. We therefore concluded the claim had not been substantiated and was misleading.
On that point, ad (c) breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading Advertising) and 3.7 (Substantiation).
We considered that consumers would understand the claim “Try it Risk Free with our 30 day Money Back Guarantee” in ads (c) and (d) to mean that consumers could take out life insurance. If they therefore, were not happy during the first 30 days of the policy they could get a refund of the whole amount they had paid at the time of taking out the policy. We therefore expected to see evidence to demonstrate that was the case.
However, Digital Results Group did not provide any evidence relating to the money back guarantee. We therefore concluded ads (c) and (d) were misleading.
On that point the ad (c) and ad (d) breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising) and 3.7 (Substantiation).
The ads must not appear again in the form complained about. We told Digital Results Group GmbH t/a UK Life Protection, British Life Cover Quotes and British Life Benefit not to claim or imply that they were acting for purposes outside their trade or business and to make clear the commercial intent of their marketing. We also told them to ensure that they made clear the basis of stated levels of cover, including that they stipulated where factors such as age, lifestyle and health were taken into account when quotes were generated. We further told them to ensure that any claims made in their advertising were substantiated. We referred the matter to the CAP Compliance team.