15/08/2012 09:34 BST

Car Insurance Firm RIAS Reprimanded Over Misleading Advertisement

Car insurance specialist RIAS has been banned from broadcasting an advert asking "Why pay more than £195?".

Two complainants challenged a television advertisement which misleadingly implied all of RIAS's quotes would be £195 or less when, in their experience, that was not the case.

In response, RIAS said it had simply invited viewers to get in touch with the insurance company if it was paying more than £195, and had made it clear through the use of on-screen text that while 20.4% of their new customers who took out insurance between October and December 2011 paid less than £195 for their insurance, there was no implication all quotes would be for less than that amount.

The ASA agreed with RIAS that the statement "Are you paying over £195 for car insurance? Here's why you should talk to RIAS" implied only that those viewers who were currently paying over £195 for their car insurance should talk to the firm.

However, it considered the statement "Why pay more than £195?", which appeared as on-screen text at the beginning of the advertisement, and which was repeated by the voice-over at the end, went further, because it implied that customers would not pay more than £195 if they purchased their car insurance from RIAS.

In a statement the ASA concluded: "We considered that, particularly because that statement was made both at the beginning and end of the ad, it reinforced the message that RIAS's customers would not pay more than £195 for their car insurance; in that context we considered the on-screen text which stated the basis of the claim therefore contradicted rather than clarified the "Why pay more than £195?" claim."

The ASA upheld the claim and banned the advertisement from being broadcast again in its current form.