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ASA upholds complaint about misleading equity release ad from Responsible Life

  • 03/11/2022
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ASA upholds complaint about misleading equity release ad from Responsible Life
The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld a complaint about an equity release advert for Responsible Life stating that it was misleading at it implied independence and impartiality.

The advert itself was from Reader’s Digest Equity Release, which is a trading style of equity release lender Responsible Life, in June this year.

It started by stating that thousands of people had used Reader’s Digest Guides to “get the best out of life through the years” showing images of several guides including “Illustrated Guide to Gardening”, “The Cookery Year” and “Complete Guide to Sewing”.

The advert then showed an image of “Complete Guide to Equity Release” and a voiceover outlined that the free guide would explain equity release and recommended getting in touch with an expert adviser.

Complainants said that the advert was misleading as it implied that the advice provided by the guide was independent.


Misleading impression of independence

In its ruling, ASA said that it understood that Reader’s Digest Guides were a series of guides produced by Reader’s Digest and they were “typically independently produced and instructive in nature and did not relate to specific products or services”.

Consequently, the trade body said that consumers would understand the report came from a brand that created guides that offered independent and impartial advice.

However, as Reader’s Digest Equity Release is a trading style of Responsible Life, and although there was superimposed text confirming that this was the case, it was “not sufficient” to dispel the impression of independence and impartiality.

“We also considered that while the ad referred to talking to an “expert adviser” about equity release after reading the guide, it did not make clear the adviser would be working on behalf of Responsible Life, selling their financial products, rather than an independent adviser,” it added.

The advert has been withdrawn.

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