A TV ad for a financial claims management company, viewed in November 2011, stated: “This is an important announcement. If you’ve taken out a loan, credit card or mortgage in the last six years you could be owed thousands.
It went on to say: “Even if your loans and credit cards are paid off and your account is now closed claim4refunds could still help and we could settle your claim in just three weeks.
“There are no upfront fees and if we don’t win your claim you don’t pay a penny, guaranteed. You could be owed thousands and remember time limits may apply so don’t delay. Log on now or call 0800 XXX XXXX for your free claim pack.”
The complaint challenged whether the claim “no upfront fees” was misleading, because he understood that a £1 refundable deposit had to be paid by customers.
They also challenged whether the claim “we could settle your claim in just three weeks” was misleading and could be substantiated, because he did not believe this to be the case.
In its defence, Claim for Refunds said it did not charge any upfront fees for work carried out on a client’s behalf. It confirmed it asked clients to pay a £1 “goodwill payment” at the outset of their claim.
Claim for Refunds also said it had submitted evidence that it could settle some claims within three weeks to the Ministry of Justice in June 2011, and that it had been satisfied they could substantiate the claim.
The ASA noted the ad stated that claims “could” be settled within three weeks, and considered that consumers would interpret this to mean that some claims would be settled within this timeframe.
It also noted Claim for Refunds had provided several recent examples of claims that had been settled within three weeks. It also noted that the Ministry of Justice had been satisfied that the claim could be substantiated.
It therefore concluded that the claim had been substantiated and was not misleading.