The radio advertisement featuring a female (FVO) and male voiceover (MVO) referred to the following:
FVO: Breaking news - reliable government sources say the 'Help To Buy' scheme will be abolished in the next budget.
MVO: First time buyers, don't wait. Put a deposit on your new home at Foxwood now and save up to €14,500. Don't struggle to save for your deposit, act while the help-to-buy scheme still pays half.
Frisby showhouses at Foxwood open every Saturday and Sunday 2.30pm-5.30pm or see foxwood.ie
Foxwood - now is the time to buy.
The complainant said that while he understood that there were ongoing government discussions in relation to revising the “Help to Buy Scheme”, he considered the advertising to be misleading and sensationalist in stating that the scheme ‘will’ be abolished in the next budget.
The advertisers said that the Taoiseach and the new Minister for Housing had gone on record several times saying that the “Help to buy Scheme may be phased out if found inflationary”. They said as house builders it was their duty to alert first time buyers to this possibility as they believed it to be a great scheme that had helped many people afford their first house. They said they were simply highlighting the fact that the scheme ‘may’ be abolished and the need for those interested in taking advantage of the scheme to do so before it was abolished.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. They noted that the advertisement had made an absolute claim that the “Help to buy Scheme” will be abolished in the next budget. As substantiation for this claim had not been provided, the Committee considered that the claim was likely to mislead and to be therefore in breach of Sections 4.1, 4.4, 4.9 and 4.10 of the Code.
ACTION REQUIRED: The advertisement should not be aired again in its current form.