A website for Premier Bank Claim, seen in September 2016, included the text “Are You Paying, Or Have You Ever Paid For Your Bank Account? RECLAIM YOUR MONTHLY FEES FOR YOUR PACKAGED BANK ACCOUNT…5 reasons you should choose us to help reclaim your account fees! No Win - No Fee All cases worked on a No Win No Fee Basis (No hidden costs Guaranteed) *Fee payable if case is not pursued at the client’s request”.
The complainant, who understood that a 39% fee applied to successful claims, challenged whether the omission of this information from the ad was misleading.
Waxon Waxoff Management Ltd t/a Premier Bank Claim said that they worked on a No Win No Fee basis, and a fee of 39% was payable if the claim was successful. They stated that all clients would receive a letter of authority that came with terms and conditions which were linked from the bottom of their web page.
The ASA considered that consumers would interpret the claim “No Win No Fee” to mean that they would only have to pay a fee in the event of a successful claim.
We understood from the terms and conditions, which were accessible by clicking through the bottom of the advertiser’s web page, that a 39% fee was applicable to successful claims. We considered that this was material information that would allow consumers to make an informed decision as to whether to use the service and the omission of this information from the main ad was likely to mislead consumers.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
Marketing communications must not mislead the consumer by omitting material information. They must not mislead by hiding material information or presenting it in an unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or untimely manner.
Material information is information that the consumer needs to make informed decisions in relation to a product. Whether the omission or presentation of material information is likely to mislead the consumer depends on the context, the medium and, if the medium of the marketing communication is constrained by time or space, the measures that the marketer takes to make that information available to the consumer by other means. (Misleading advertising) 3.9 3.9 Marketing communications must state significant limitations and qualifications. Qualifications may clarify but must not contradict the claims that they qualify. and 3.10 3.10 Qualifications must be presented clearly.
CAP has published a Help Note on Claims that Require Qualification. (Qualification).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Waxon Waxoff Management Ltd t/a Premier Bank Claim to ensure that all material information is prominently displayed on their advertising.