A TV advertisement for an equity release scheme by Age Partnership in February has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for being misleading.
Nine viewers challenged whether the advertisement was misleading as it mentioned the claim “we used some money to pay off our mortgage”.
Age Partnership argued that an equity release plan was a distinguishably different product than a traditional mortgage, deeming it incorrect to view an equity release plan as one mortgage replacing another.
Clearcast, the NGO that clears ads for broadcast, said was aware that to pay off a mortgage through equity release, consumers would need to engage with another financial product.
Clearcast also added that the plans being advertised could provide relief from a monthly mortgage repayment.
Justin Wysocki, marketing director at Age Partnership, said: “We take our responsibility as a provider of financial services seriously and would never intentionally mislead the public with our marketing communications.”
But the ASA came to the decision that the ad did “not sufficiently, clearly communicate relevant information and detail about certain elements of a lifetime mortgage, specifically how and when it was likely to be repaid”.
The ad, according to the ASA, focused on the potential benefits of a “lifetime mortgage without sufficiently communicating other elements” so the ad was therefore “ambiguous”.
The ad was also deemed likely to cause consumers to make further enquiries regarding those products when they would not otherwise have done so.
The outcome of the ruling is the ad was not to be broadcast again in its current form and Age Partnership was asked to ensure the nature of a lifetime mortgage was clear to viewers.
Wysocki added: “Whilst we are disappointed with the ASA ruling, we recognise that a small number of people have found one of our TV advertisements to be unclear, and have therefore made the required changes to clarify the points raised.”