Crystal Legal Services, a claims management company (CMC), has seen off a challenge from Lloyds Banking Group to one of its PPI adverts after three other CMCs had fallen foul of complaints by the bank.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that Crystal had substantiated its claim that the average PPI award it obtained was just over £3,500 by providing a list of successful claimants.
The ASA said: “We noted that the evidence provided by Crystal Legal Services detailed individual claims from July 2010 to March 2015, which showed that the mean pay-out per claimant, prior to a fee being paid, was £3,516.27.
“Although the results showed a large range in the amount paid out, the amounts were evenly spread with a significant number of claimants securing close to the mean win amount.”
In its ruling, the ASA said that claims on www.crystallegal.com, seen last autumn and setting out ‘The Sure Claim Facts!’, claimed the average PPI payout obtained for clients was £3,516, as of March 2015.
Ruling that the advert was not misleading, the ASA said Crystal had provided it with a list of successful claimants.
“This detailed the individual claims, the organisation the claim had been made against and on which product the PPI had been paid, along with the amount that had been won on the claimants’ behalf.
“At the top of the document was a calculation that showed the total amount that had been claimed divided by the total number of claimants, this produced an average win amount per person of £3,516.27.”
However, complaints by Lloyds were upheld in three other separate rulings involving CMCs .
The ASA said MCL Manchester Claims Limited did not respond to the ASA’s enquiries, and the ASA said it was concerned by the “lack of response and apparent disregard for the code” by Manchester Claims.
“We considered consumers were likely to understand from the ad that the average PPI refund Manchester Claims obtained was £3,000, and that they had a 90% success rate in making successful PPI refund claims.
“However, we had not seen any evidence to demonstrate that was the case and therefore concluded that the ad breached the code.”
In a similar case, the ASA upheld a complaint against Thomson Legal, trading as PBA Refunds.
“We considered that consumers viewing the ad would understand that PBA Refunds had been able to recover, on average, £2,200 per claim.
“This, it was considered, might encourage consumers to pursue a claim with the company with the expectation that they would receive a figure around that amount. In the absence of any evidence in support of the claim, we concluded it had not been substantiated and was misleading.”
In a further case, claimback.com also failed to substantiate a claim when challenged by Lloyds. The claimback.com website, which promoted a PPI refund service, contained a box on the left-hand side of the page headed “The PPI Facts” which stated: “We have already claimed back over £50m for our clients”.
In each of the three cases where challenges were upheld, the ASA ordered the adverts not to be used in their current form.