Summary of Council decision:
Two issues were investigated, both of which were Upheld.
An e-mail from a PPI claims management company, stated "... we only send emails to people who have provided their permission and wish to receive them".
The complainant challenged whether;
1. the email breached the Code because it was unsolicited; and,
2. the claim "... we only send emails to people who have provided their permission and wish to receive them" was misleading and could be substantiated.
1. & 2. PPI Claims Management Company Ltd t/a Lion Claimline said the complainant's e-mail address had been collected by one of their external lead providers, who they commissioned to send out advertising content and who used external suppliers' opt-in mailing lists. They said they, and their external provider, used content only from opt-in mailing lists and they provided an assurance that the complainant's e-mail address would be removed from any further mailings.
The ASA acknowledged Lion Claimline's assurance that they would remove the complainant's e-mail address from their database to ensure they received no further marketing communications. However, despite the complainant's assertion that they regularly opted-out of future e-mail communications, they had nevertheless received a further marketing communication. Because a marketing communication had been sent to a consumer unsolicited we concluded it breached the Code.
On this point, the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 10.4 10.4 Marketers must not make persistent and unwanted marketing communications by telephone, fax, mail, e-mail or other remote media. To avoid making persistent and unwanted marketing communications, marketers must do everything reasonable to ensure that: and 10.4.4 10.4.4 marketing communications are not sent to consumers who have asked not to receive them (see rule 10.5) or, if relevant, who have not had the opportunity to object to receiving them (see rule 10.9.3). Those consumers should be identifiable (Database practice).
As with point 1, we understood that the complainant had received a marketing communication despite not having opted in, which we considered contradicted Lion Claimline's claim that they only sent e-mails to people who have provided their permission and wished to receive them. We therefore concluded the claim was unsubstantiated and likely to mislead.
On this point, the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. (Misleading advertising) and 3.7 3.7 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. (Substantiation).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Lion Claimline to ensure they did not send unsolicited e-mails, and to avoid making claims that e-mails were sent only to those who requested them in future, unless they were able to demonstrate it unequivocally.