Moneysavingexpert sends 'misleading' advert in email to suscribers

10 September 2014

bitterwallet mad menThe Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) does a sterling job protecting us consumers from those scurrilous types who would seek to mislead us with not-quite-kosher adverts. But it seems their job is even harder than you would have thought- when they have to uphold complaints against consumer champions and their adverts…

The millionaire Martin Lewis’ is the latest organisation who has had a complaint (partially) upheld against them. The ASA found that the adverts, for telecoms products, were misleading and omitted relevant information that would have helped the consumer make an informed decision. Still, on the bright side, the affiliate links worked just fine.

Moneysavingexpert was advertising a Talk Talk telephone package described as "B'band & phone equiv £15.25/mth + £75 Love2Shop (if line rent paid upfront)",  and compared it with other telecommunications providers’ packages. The ASA was asked to investigate whether the advert was misleading because it would suggest to consumers that the new package included calls (it did not) and that there was a restriction on the amount of unbilled calls to a maximum of £20 that was not mentioned anywhere, nor were any details of call charges.

The ASA considered the overall impression created by the reference to "phone" in the headline, reinforced by the claims that followed and the image of a landline phone, was that the package comprised broadband and inclusive phone calls in the advertised price. Because phone calls were not included in the stated price and that was not made sufficiently clear, they concluded the claim was misleading and that the advert broke four regulations of the applicable CAP code.

The ASA also felt that considered consumers “would not expect to be restricted in the amount of calls they could make or that they would need to make a payment prior to the end of the billing period to have that restriction lifted.” As a result, they felt that the £20 "unbilled call limit" was a "significant condition" which should have been included in the ad, along with a reference that such calls would be charged at TalkTalk's standard rates.

Two other complaints about the advert were not upheld by the ASA.

So next time you read a Moneysavingexpert email, purportedly issued to save you money, make sure you’re getting the full facts before you sign up for that super deal…

TOPICS:   Advertising   Consumer Advice


  • Noghar
    I never object to pix of Christina Hendricks and her impressive embonpoint, but what does she have to do with this story? Someone take a few minutes at least to come up with a spurious link, please.
  • Peter T.
    I love that cat food advert with Christina Hendricks. Who'd have guessed she has a grey pussy?
  • Lucy
    Critical of your biggest competitor, nice. However, Martin has a track record of misleading advice, and deletion of posts that don't agree with his view, so it's good that somethings been done about it
  • Pauper
    To be fair, MSE is no longer Martin but clearly more of a machine. If the ASA deemed this to be misleading, we'll they've clearly done their diligence and found MSE to be in breach, so they deserved to be called out / fined etc just like everyone else.
  • Patrick
    MSE isn't an unbiased consumer site any more. They've removed their articles on finding the cheapest energy provider and now just have info on their owner's offer (ie. Money Supermarket Energy Club). I suspect this will continue with home insurance and so on as they're put under huge pressure to make higher profits. We need an alternative to MSE that provides unbiased advice.

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