Television advertisement for AIB mortgages stated:
“Some people will tell you banks aren’t giving mortgages. But AIB approves four out of five of all mortgage applications. We’re open. We’re lending, in our 200 branches, on the phone, online.”
On screen footnote text included the following:
“Based on the average number of fully completed AIB mortgage applications from September 2013 to February 2014.”
The complainant considered that the claim to approve four out of five mortgage applications was misleading as it implied that AIB approved 80% of all mortgage applications during September 2013 to February 2014. The complainant understood that a consumer must comply with initial criteria in order to progress with a mortgage application without which they were unable to progress further with their application. He was concerned that this was misleading to first time buyers who had never been through a mortgage application before.
The advertisers stated that the claim that they approve four out of five mortgage applications was based on the number of fully completed mortgage applications with AIB and that this was accurate and true. They also stated that there was a stringent compliance process in place to ensure their messaging was accurate and that appropriate terms and conditions were included where necessary.
The advertisers stated that they did not have any pre-application criteria for their mortgage customers. They also stated that, as with all lending products, customers tended to talk to the bank in terms of general advice before they made a mortgage application and that it was then the customer’s choice when to apply. They stated that due to the fact that there could be many reasons why a customer would decide not to make an application, they excluded pre-application figures from their statistics. They also stated that the terms and conditions very clearly stated that the promotional message was based on the average number of completed mortgage applications from September 2013 to February 2014.
They also referred to a “Step by step guide to getting a mortgage” leaflet that was given to customers enquiring about mortgages. They stated that customers were not excluded from making an application by pre-application criteria. They stated that the promotional message was based on the average number of completed mortgage applications from September 2013 to February 2014 and they were strongly of the view that the submission of an application by a customer was the correct and appropriate statistic on which to base their promotional statement.
They stated that for their television commercials, they always ensure that the font size of regulatory information meets the requirements for title size, as well as the length of time the terms and conditions appear on screen. They also referred to the fact that the relevant copy clearance bodies cleared the advertisement prior to its broadcast.
They stated that they regretted that the complainant felt that the advertisement was misleading, however, they endeavoured to be clear throughout all their communications.
Complaint not upheld.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. The Committee noted that the claim to approve four out of five mortgage applications had been qualified in the on screen text by stating that it applied to fully completed applications. The Committee did not consider that the advertising was in breach of the Code.
No further action required.