A sponsored search on Google stated "www.uk-passport.net Official UK Passport Application Lost, Stolen, renewal 24/7 Support. Adult Renewal Passport Child Renewal Passport Child Replacement Passport Adult Replacement Passport".
Fourteen internet users challenged whether the claim "Official UK Passport Application" was misleading, because it implied the advertiser was affiliated to the HM Passport Office
UK-Passport.net said they had already requested that the ad should be amended and they would do so again, but they did not provide a more substantive response to our enquiries.
The ASA noted UK-Passport.net had previously given us an assurance that the claim "official" would be removed from their advertising, but we also noted the amendment had not been made.
We considered that the use of the claim "Official UK Passport Application ..." implied that the advertiser was affiliated to the HM Passport Office and as such consumers were likely to understand that they were applying for, or renewing, a passport through an officially recognised HM Passport Office agent. Because that was not the case, we concluded that the claim was misleading.
The sponsored search 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 3.50 3.50 Marketing communications must not display a trust mark, quality mark or equivalent without the necessary authorisation. Marketing communications must not claim that the marketer (or any other entity referred to), the marketing communication or the advertised product has been approved, endorsed or authorised by any public or other body if it has not or without complying with the terms of the approval, endorsement or authorisation. (Endorsements and Testimonials).
The sponsored search must not appear again in its current form. We told UK-Passport.net to ensure that their advertising did not imply that they were affiliated to the HM Passport Office.