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Product: Financial - Insurance
Medium: Internet (Company Website)
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4c, 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.28a, 4.28b, 4.29
Testimonials on the Insuremymotorbike.ie site stated:
“Insuremymotorbike.ie saved me €223 on my motorbike insurance!
Comprehensive // Shane, Monaghan // Age 25
See how Shane saved €223
Insuremymotorbike.ie saved me €284 on my motorbike insurance!
Comprehensive // Anthony, Portmarnock // Age 36
See how Anthony saved €284
Insuremymotorbike.ie saved me €159 on my motorbike insurance!
Comprehensive // Olivia, Limerick // Age 30
See how Olivia saved €159
Insuremymotorbike.ie saved me €106 on my motorbike insurance!
Third party Fire and Theft // Michael, Cork // Age 42
See how Michael saved €106
Insuremymotorbike.ie saved me €396 on my motorbike insurance!
Comprehensive // Sean, Shankill // Age 32
See how Sean saved €396”
The complainant considered that the testimonials were misleading as she had attempted to obtain a quotation in 2015 from Insuremymotorbike.ie and had been advised that they were not in a position to offer insurance as they were not fully operational at that time. As testimonials were being used on the company’s website one year after the complainant was advised that they were not in a position to offer insurance quotations, the complainant questioned the validity of the testimonials and was of the view that the advertising was misleading.
The advertiser stated that their website, insuremymotorbike.ie, was one of a number of websites that they traded under and marketed their insurance products. They said that they launched the website in December 2014 and soon after their underwriter withdrew from their previously agreed position and they subsequently suspended issuing quotes.
They noted that the complainant referenced quotations from their site that were formulated on comparisons available when they were reviewing the market. They said that the quotations were achieved when using their then underwriter’s comparable quotes. They said that since their office was put on notice of the issue raised from the quotation section they immediately amended their site and removed the quotation section. They also said that they were in discussions with a new underwriter to insure with this sector and as the talks were on-going their website was listed as “under construction” until the underwriter has confirmed their position.
The Executive reviewed the advertiser’s website and noted that the testimonials were available to view on the site. In the circumstances they requested a copy of the testimonials.
The advertiser further stated that the testimonials in the screenshots were not referring to real customer details but rather were samples of price savings based on real details. They said that this was explained on each example once the sample quote saving was clicked on. They provided the Executive with a full copy of each of the testimonials details. They said that each of the samples were price checked with the various motorbike insurers available at the time and then the pricing that had been proposed by their insurer was compared, hence where the savings figure was calculated. Finally, they said that to avoid further confusion they had taken down the insuremymotorbike.ie website and they would not be relaunching the site until they had updated rates from a new insurance provider.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. The Committee noted that the testimonials on the advertisers’ site had included the name, age and area of the customers, however, they had not been based on real customers of Insuremymotorbike.ie.
While they were samples of price savings that could be obtained from their underwriter, as they were not actual customers who had obtained insurance from the advertiser then the Committee considered the use of the testimonials was misleading and in breach of Sections 4.1, 4.4 and 4.9 of the Code.
The Committee noted that the advertiser had taken their website down, however, the Committee told them not to use customer testimonials unless they could substantiate that they were from genuine customers of their insurance.