PPI claims firm www.thefairtradepractice.co.uk has had an ad banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
A website for a PPI claims specialist, www.thefairtradepractice.co.uk, seen on 23 May 2016. The FAQs page stated “On average our customers receive a refund of £3,400*. *As at January 2016”.
Lloyds Banking Group challenged whether the claim ‘On average our customers receive a refund of £3,400’ was misleading and could be substantiated.
The Protection Specialist Ltd (trading as The Fair Trade Practice) stated that £3,400 was the average sum recovered by their successful clients (those who had recovered money from lenders). They said that they took on all customers who had types of finance where they could have been mis-sold PPI. In the period between April 2010 and June 2016, they had had 78,226 successful and 58,532 unsuccessful clients. They provided data on the cumulative amount in PPI claims recovered by each of their successful clients during that period, which they said substantiated the average figure of £3,400.
The ASA noted that a large number of people who had contacted The Fair Trade Practice about potential PPI claims had not been successful in recovering any money. While individuals did not have to pay a fee unless their claim was successful, the ASA considered that consumers would understand “customers” to refer to all of those people who had engaged the company’s services to recover PPI claims. Therefore, the ad watchdog considered that they would understand that £3,400 was the mean amount of money received in claims by all individuals who contacted The Fair Trade Practice to pursue possible PPI claims within the stated period.
The data provided by The Fair Trade Practice demonstrated that the average sum recovered by their successful clients was approximately £3,400. However, as there were 58,532 customers in the same period who had not been successful in recovering any PPI claims, and as consumers were likely to understand the claim as applying to all customers regardless of success, the ASA considered that the claim had not been substantiated and was therefore misleading, breaching CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation) and 3.11 (Exaggeration).
The ad must not appear again in the form complained about.
The ASA told The Fair Trade Practice not to use objective claims in their advertising unless they were able to substantiate them.