A radio advertisement for Bray Credit Union was heard on East Coast FM and said:
“Join the best credit union in Wicklow.
Bray Credit Union – offering day-to-day current accounts, mortgages of up to €250,000 and loans of up to €75,000. Plus, people insurance!
Apply online at braycu.ie from the comfort of your home.
Bray Credit Union – here for all your banking needs.
Loans subject to approval. Bray Credit Union is licensed by the Central Bank of Ireland.”
The complainant argued that Bray Credit Union did not present evidence to substantiate such a claim. Furthermore, he said that the credit union only covered a small area and that it could not therefore claim to be the best in the whole county.
At the time of the complaint, the advertisers explained that Bray Credit Union provided most financial services, which was why they had inserted the claim “best” in their campaign. They said that during the Covid-19 pandemic, their business needed a positive radio advertisement to showcase their product and to illustrate to East Coast FM listeners the range of services they then offered. They explained that in terms of Credit Union services, most only provided two: savings and loans. As Bray Credit Union provided savings, loans, current accounts, people insurance, and mortgages, the advertisers felt the claim “best” was appropriate in describing their position as a forward-thinking credit union which offered more services.
The ASAI Executive researched a listing (1) of other credit unions in Co. Wicklow which included the presence of credit unions in Arklow, Baltinglass, Blessington, Greystones, Wicklow.
In relation to their area of coverage, the advertisers explained that credit unions are open to membership if people live or work in a common bond. Bray Credit Union’s common bond covers the area from Shankill to Wicklow Town and out to the Sally Gap, which the advertisers explained takes in most of county Wicklow.
The advertisers apologised for any inconvenience caused and emphasised that, once notified of the complaint, they immediately pulled the advertisement from the airwaves.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response, including that they had withdrawn the advertising on notification of the complaint.
The Committee noted the commentary in relation to the services offered in comparison to other credit unions and the stated geographical range related to the advertised service. However, the Committee noted that comparative data about the services offered by the other relevant institutions in the geographical area had not been submitted to demonstrate the claim to be the ‘best’. Noting the Code requirement (4.33) that a claim that any product is superior to others should only be made where there is clear evidence to support the claim, and in the absence of sufficient substantiation, the Committee considered that the advertising was likely to mislead and in breach of Code Sections 4.1, 4.9, 4.10 and 4.33.
Action Required: As the advertisement had been withdrawn, no further action in relation to the advertisement.