Guidance for Claims Management Companies from the ASA and CAP

ASA urges financial CMCs to review their ads as nearly 50% found to break the rules
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has this week urged Claims Management Companies (CMCs) to review their advertising as nearly 50% of all complaints received about the sector in the past 18 months resulted in action being taken. 
Since January 2015, 45% of complaints received by the ASA regarding CMCs were upheld, which means they broke the Advertising Code rules. Of these, nearly all - 90% - were resolved informally with the full co-operation of the CMC involved, proving industry are ready and willing to work with the ASA on this matter.
This week the ASA and the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) – the body that writes the UK Advertising Codes - have contacted all authorised financial CMCs to remind them of the advertising rules, and where they can access help and advice to prevent complaints about their ads. Typically, complaints have focused on advertising for the recovery of mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI) and mainly relate to whether claims relating to chances of success, average pay-outs and applicable fees have been exaggerated or are misleading in some other way. 
The ASA and CAP, alongside the Claims Management Regulation Unit of the Ministry of Justice (CMRU), are encouraging CMCs to review all their advertising materials, including their website, social media channels and third-party marketing databases, to ensure they comply with the Advertising Codes. They are reminded that if they do not stick to the rules, they will likely also be in breach of the Conduct of Authorised Persons Rules 2014 which could result in suspension or cancellation of their authorisation by the CMRU.
The guidance sent out by ASA, CAP and CMRU this week reminds companies to keep in mind the following points when preparing their advertising:
Don’t mislead consumers by exaggerating your services or omitting any important information
Be able to support your claims with relevant evidence that you can produce on request (by the ASA)
Be clear about your fees including how they are calculated and when they are due
Use direct marketing responsibly and make sure you’ve got the right permissions to send ads to consumers
Make clear who you are and be transparent about what you can offer consumers, particularly on marketing communications sent out by email and SMS
Jo Poots, Head of Operations for Complaints and Investigations at the ASA, said: “The ASA is committed to working with CMCs to help them understand what makes a legal, decent and honest ad and to reduce the number of complaints we receive about this sector. This is why we have proactively contacted these organisations to remind them of our rules and how to stick to them. It’s vital consumers are not misled by ads and can have confidence in the services they are being offered.”

External News Source : Link to related article on Committee of Advertising Practice website

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