A job listing on Indeed, for PaymentSense, a merchant service provider, seen on 12 April 2017, stated “Field Sales Agent - Stratford UK”. A sub-heading on the page stated “Salary: £0-80k per year”. Further text stated “Self-employed (Excellent commission structure + Recurring payments) … Come and work for Paymentsense for the opportunity of UNCAPPED EARNINGS with realistic earning potential of £80k in year 1!”.
The complainant challenged whether the claim “realistic earning potential of £80k” was misleading and could be substantiated.
PaymentSense said that Field Sales Agents worked on a self-employed basis. They said that they did not impose targets or minimum hours and therefore Agents had control over the commitment they put into the role.
PaymentSense said that the job listing stated a salary range which showed that there was no guaranteed basic salary included in the role. They provided copies of the gross annual earnings for all their Field Sales Agents from 2011 to date. The evidence showed that of the 340 current Field Sales Agents, 10 earned £80,000 or more and a further seven earned between £64,000 and £80,000.
PaymentSense explained that some Field Sales Agents worked the role on a part-time basis or in conjunction with other roles. They also said that a large number of Agents chose to work with PaymentSense for fewer than 12 months. As a result of those factors, they said the average salary was not an accurate reflection of the earning potential of the role.
The ASA noted that the job listing stated a salary range of "£0 -£80k per year" and included text which stated "there is no basic salary …". We considered that consumers would interpret those claims to mean that there was no fixed salary for the role and earnings would depend entirely on commission. We further considered that consumers would understand that they could potentially earn up to £80,000 and would not expect that figure to be a representation of the average earnings in the role.
The breakdown of earnings showed a variation between the top and the lowest earning Agents. While the average earnings of current Agents was below £80,000, we understood that some Agents worked part time and that others did the role for only a short period. We considered that the average was therefore not reflective of the earnings potential. The evidence showed that a number of people earned above £80,000 with the highest earning Agent making approximately £143,000 within their first 12 months. We were therefore satisfied that Field Sales Agents had been paid within the quoted salary range and that the uncapped nature of the commission scheme meant that successful applicants had the opportunity to earn up to £80,000.
Because PaymentSense had supplied data that showed that £80,000 was an obtainable salary within the role, we concluded that the ad was not misleading.
We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
Before distributing or submitting a marketing communication for publication, marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove claims that consumers are likely to regard as objective and that are capable of objective substantiation. The ASA may regard claims as misleading in the absence of adequate substantiation.
Employment marketing communications must relate to genuine vacancies and potential employees must not be asked to pay for information.
Living and working conditions must not be misrepresented. Quoted earnings must be precise; if one has to be made, a forecast must not be unrepresentative. If income is earned from a basic salary and commission, commission only or in some other way, that must be made clear. (Employment), but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.