An email from Direct Collection Bailiffs Ltd, received on 24 April 2019, entitled "Gypsies next door, new series features Can't Pay? We'll Take it Away! Agents".
Text within the email stated "Find out why DCBL maintain a 100% Traveller Removal success rate, watch the episode on-demand now. Travellers decided to take up residence on your premises? Under Common Law, landowners have the legal right to remove trespassers from their land. Take advantage of this fast process, Instruct Us".
IssueThe complainant, who believed the ad racially stereotyped the traveller community, challenged whether it was offensive.
ResponseDirect Collection Bailiffs Ltd said the ad was merely demonstrating that they featured in a television documentary. They said the intention was to promote the service they offered and direct the recipient to how the service was appropriately executed. They said they had no control over the title of the documentary itself and that they only used the term “traveller” to describe those their service related to.
The ASA noted that the intention of the ad was to inform consumers of the fact that Direct Collection Bailiffs Ltd featured in a documentary within which they were asked to remove travellers from a leisure centre and to offer their removal services to the public. The ad explained the rights of landowners to remove trespassers from their land.
We noted the words “reduce the likelihood of further travellers congregating, damage to land and fly tipping” and understood the complainant was concerned that the ad racially stereotyped the traveller community. However, we noted that language referenced the work completed by Direct Collection Bailiffs Ltd in the television documentary, under instruction from a borough council.
While we understood that some may have viewed the link between the work they completed in the documentary to remove travellers and congregation, damage to land and fly tipping as distasteful, the language used was neutral and we considered that recipients would understand that it was intended to reflect the work carried out in the programme. In light of that, we concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence. We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 4.1 (Harm and offence), but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.