The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has banned a television advertisement for Hampson Hughes Solicitors which features a £2,000 inducement after ruling that it is misleading.
The firm's ad, which shows an actor tripping over an exposed drainhole after walking down a street, includes a voice-over encouraging viewers who have been injured in an accident to contact Hampson Hughes.
"Accidents are never nice, but the £2,000 up-front on accepted cases from Hampson Hughes will make them a lot easier to deal with," says the actor providing the voice-over.
Although it includes some on-screen text which warns that terms and conditions apply to the inducement, ASA ruled that the ad could be open to misinterpretation and was to no longer be broadcast, after receiving one complaint from a member of the public.
Hampson Hughes Solicitors told ASA that they believed the ad clearly stated that the £2,000 up-front payment was subject to acceptance of the case and made clear that the payment was not automatically awarded to clients.
"We understood that there were a number of terms and conditions associated with the advance cash payment offer, including that the offer would not be honoured if the claim was unlikely to result in an award of £3,000 or more," said ASA in a statement.
"Therefore in some cases consumers' claims would be pursued by Hampson Hughes, but they would not be eligible to receive the up-front cash payment. Whilst we acknowledged that on-screen text stated "Ts and Cs apply", in the context of the claim in the voice-over we considered that consumers were likely to understand the terms and conditions to qualify whether or not the case would be accepted by Hampson Hughes, and not whether or not the accepted case would be eligible to receive the up-front cash payment."
"Furthermore, we considered that the exclusion of claims unlikely to result in an award of £3,000 or more was a significant limitation to the offer and therefore should have been clearly stated in the ad," added the agency.
The firm has only recently raised the amount it offers for inducements by £500.