A website for QualitySolicitors, www.qualitysolicitors.com, seen on 19 September 2017. On the website's home page, under the title "Specialists solicitors that you can rely on", it stated that QualitySolicitors had "over 100 branches countrywide".
The complainant, who understood there were fewer than 100 branches, challenged whether the claim was misleading and could be substantiated.
Quality Solicitors Organisation Ltd said they were a marketing brand for solicitors. Firms paid a fee to join the QualitySolicitors network, but would remain independent law firms regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Association. QualitySolicitors said they did not own or have any stake in the firms that were members of the network or their office premises.
They provided a list of 103 firms who were part of the QualitySolicitors network in the UK as of 19 September 2017 and said that since then the number had increased.
The ASA considered that consumers would understand the claim "over 100 branches countrywide" to mean that QualitySolicitors would have a presence at more than 100 locations in the UK, with a conventional, public-facing address at that location.
We understood that, while the firms that were part of the QualitySolicitors network retained their original name and that QualitySolicitors did not own any of those properties or firms, they were nonetheless part of the QualitySolicitors network and brand. Because Quality Solicitors were able to provide evidence that there were more than 100 physical branches within their network, we concluded that claim had been substantiated and was not misleading.
We investigated the ad under 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), but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.