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ASA bans ‘misleading’ Habito adverts

Jake Carter

October 20, 2021

Habito

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned two adverts from Habito, seen in April 2021.

The animated TV ad depicted a woman gardening while a newspaper was thrown into her garden, with the headline ‘Interest rates rise! Homeowners could get stung’.

The ad received ten complainants, pointing out that interest rates in general were very low at the time the ad was seen and that Habito’s were high by comparison.

The complainants also said that the ad exaggerated the likelihood of mortgage rates rising, and of customers risking financial detriment if they did not opt for a lifetime fixed-rate mortgage.

They also challenged whether the ad’s depiction of the wider market as “hell” and consumers being “stung by rising interest rates” was misleading.

Habito said that the dominant emotional state of consumers in the home-buying process was the fear of getting ripped off.

Describing the mortgage market as “hell” was therefore designed to express how getting a mortgage felt for consumers.

The ASA considered that consumers would understand from the ad as a whole that interest rates were rising significantly and were likely to rise significantly in future, leading to a risk that rates across the mortgage lending market could increase to an extent that was unaffordable for many consumers.

It said that the ad implied the Habito One mortgage would protect consumers from rising interest rates and resulting financial detriment because it offered a fixed interest rate for the lifetime of a mortgage, whereas all other types of mortgages on the market would leave consumers immediately exposed to a significantly heightened level of risk.

The ASA told Habito to ensure that its ads did not exaggerate the likelihood of future significant interest rate rises and the risks of the rest of the mortgage market compared to the Habito One product.

In conclusion, based off the information received, the ASA decided the advert must not appear again in its current form.


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