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ASA upholds complaint over misleading stamp investment ad

The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld a complaint from Which? over an advertising claim made by stamp dealer Stanley Gibbons.

Which? challenged the advertising campaign for the Stanley Gibbon’s capital protected growth plan on three issues.

It highlighted literature suggesting the plan is “is designed to protect your investment 100 per cent” and the fact the firm said its confidence in the product allowed it to offer a full capital security guarantee, regardless of what happened to the value of the portfolio. It also challenged Stanley Gibbon’s assertion that it intends to do this by investing in a historical asset with a 100-year history of strong and steady increases.

ASA only upheld the final challenge from Which? on the grounds that Stanley Gibbon’s only supplied information for the years 1911, 1954 and then annually from 1998 to 2011.

It said: “We also note that Stanley Gibbons acknowledged in its response that prices of stamps had fluctuated and there had been a decline in the price of stamps from 1979 to the early 1980s but they did not supply us with data from that period to compare. Taking all of this into account, we concluded that we had not seen adequate evidence to substantiate the claim on this point, the ad was misleading.”

ASA has told Stanley Gibbons to remove the claim that its stamps have a 100 year history of strong and steady returns.

Industry commentators have been keen to make people aware of the risks of investing in niche areas of the market, such as stamp dealing, citing the fact these products are not directly regulated by the FSA.

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