Equity release website Equityreleaseplus.co.uk has been censured by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) after using an advert which implied that Martin Lewis, of Money Saving Expert fame, was involved with their product.
Back in January a paid-for ad on Msn.com for Equityreleaseplus.co.uk included the text “Martin Lewis Equity Release Calculator – Release Cash From Your Home”. The advert then linked to equityreleaseplus.co.uk.
But in reality the ad had nothing to do with Lewis and the ASA has been unable to link the site – which appears to be a lead generation site – to any particular person despite trying to contact the firm.
The ASA said: “The ASA was concerned by equityreleaseplus.co.uk’s lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code.
“We reminded them of their responsibility to provide a substantive response to our enquiries and told them to do so in future.
“We considered that consumers would understand that the ad was for a financial product by Martin Lewis and the lack of any other information which gave context to the claim “Martin Lewis Equity Release Calculator – Release Cash From Your Home” implied that the product was linked to equityreleaseplus.co.uk, which we understood was not the case. We therefore concluded that the ad was misleading.”
The ASA has said that the ad must not appear again in its current form and passed the matter to Committees of Advertising Practice’s (CAP’s) compliance team.