The radio advertisement which featured a Female Voiceover referred to the following:
“You head out for the night. You don't bring cash because you have your card, and it's just easier that way. And maybe, each time you pay, your bank might add a little extra charge. But what if your current account actually gave you cash for using your card?
We've made a breakthrough. Introducing Explore Account from Permanent TSB; it's the only current account in Ireland that actually gives you 10c back on each and every purchase. Another great reason to switch.
Maximum cashback is €5 per month. Account subject to €4 monthly maintenance fee. Other charges may apply. Account partners, features and benefits are subject to change. Personal customers over 18, eStatements only. Terms and conditions apply.
Permanent TSB plc. is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland”.
The complainant said he considered the marketing communication to be misleading. He said that while the advertisement had stated at the beginning that customers would get ‘10c back on each and every purchase’ this was contradicted at the end when it was stated that the maximum cashback allowed to customers per month was €5. The complainant also said that if an account was subject to €4 a month monthly maintenance fee and perhaps other charges that this more or less cancelled out the cashback offer.
The advertisers said that their advertising had clearly stated that there was a cap on the cashback element of their offer to the value of €5 per month and therefore they did not consider their marketing communication to be misleading.
The advertisers said the €4 monthly account maintenance fee was a flat monthly fee. There was no charge involved for day-to-day transaction fees for using their Visa Debit Card or for the setting-up of Direct Debits and Standing Orders.
The advertisers said they wished to point out that there were three benefits in total attached to using their Explore Account. These were:
• Using the Card for payment transactions where they offered 10cent back on each transaction up to a maximum of €5
• Cashback on bills with their partners (Sky, SSE Airtricity, iD and Topaz), where they offered up to 5% cashback on bills when paid via Direct Debit.
• Personalised Offers (GoREWARDS), which provided cashback and offers on a wide range of high street and online brands, this was in partnership with Visa.
The Complaints Committee considered the details of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. They considered the claim “10c back on each and every purchase” to be an absolute claim and that the existence of an upper limit was a contradiction and likely to mislead. The Committee concluded that the advertisement was in breach of Sections 4.1, 4.4 and 4.9 of the Code.
The advertising should not be used in its current form again.