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  1. ASA Adjudication on Hampson Hughes Solicitors Hampson Hughes Solicitors Edward Pavilion Albert Dock Liverpool L3 4AF Date: 5 March 2014 Media: Television Sector: Financial Number of complaints: 1 Complaint Ref: A13-251321 Ad A TV ad for a personal injury claim service featured two costumed characters walking down the street, one of which tripped over an exposed drainhole. The voice-over in the ad stated, "Accidents are never nice, but the £2,000 up-front on accepted cases from Hampson Hughes will make them a lot easier to deal with. Hampson Hughes. Finally something to feel good about." On-screen text stated "£2000 Ts & Cs apply visit http://www.hampsonhughes.com for details". Issue The complainant, who understood there were significant conditions associated with receiving a £2,000 payment, challenged whether the ad was misleading. BCAP Code Response Hampson Hughes Solicitors said they believed the ad clearly stated that the £2,000 up-front payment was subject to acceptance of the case and made clear that the payment was not automatically awarded to clients. They said they encouraged people to visit their website to view the full details of the terms and conditions associated with the offer. Clearcast said the ad stated in the voice-over "£2,000 up-front on all accepted cases" and considered that that made it clear that £2,000 would be paid up-front only if the consumer's case was accepted by the advertiser. They said on-screen text qualified that acceptance was subject to terms and conditions. They said they had been advised by Hampson Hughes that any claim unlikely to result in an award of £3,000 or more would not be eligible for the £2,000 up-front payment, but they did not consider that condition to be so material that it needed to be explicitly stated. They considered that viewers would reasonably expect that any up-front sum would need to be close to any anticipated future financial award or settlement. They did not think that the other conditions of the award were significant enough to be explicitly mentioned in ad and therefore considered the on-screen text to be sufficient. Assessment Upheld The ASA noted that the ad stated "… £2,000 up-front on accepted cases from Hampson Hughes …" and considered that that implied that all cases taken on by Hampson Hughes would receive that up-front cash payment. We understood that there were a number of terms and conditions associated with the advance cash payment offer, including that the offer would not be honoured if the claim was unlikely to result in an award of £3,000 or more, and that therefore in some cases consumers' claims would be pursued by Hampson Hughes, but they would not be eligible to receive the up-front cash payment. Whilst we acknowledged that on-screen text stated "Ts and Cs apply", in the context of the claim in the voice-over we considered that consumers were likely to understand the terms and conditions to qualify whether or not the case would be accepted by Hampson Hughes, and not whether or not the accepted case would be eligible to receive the up-front cash payment. Furthermore, we considered that the exclusion of claims unlikely to result in an award of £3,000 or more was a significant limitation to the offer and therefore should have been clearly stated in the ad. Because we considered that the ad implied that all cases accepted by Hampson Hughes would receive an up-front payment of £2,000 when that was not the case, and because the ad excluded a significant limitation to the offer, we concluded that the ad was misleading. The ad breached BCAP Code rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.10 (Qualification) and 3.12 (Exaggeration). Action The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form. We told Hampson Hughes Solicitors not to imply that an offer was available for all customers if that was not the case, and to make clear any significant limitations and qualifications to offers made in their future advertising. Perhaps they should have got some real legal advice first
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