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ASA’s rap for MBNA over misleading ad

MBNA Europe Bank has been rapped by the Advertising Standards Authority, which said one of its adverts to Alliance & Leicester breached its truthfulness requirements.

The advertisement promised: “Take your credit card with you every time you go shopping and we’ll take you away…simply by spending £300 or more on your credit card every month for the next two months, you will receive a return flight for two to Europe.”

The ad was considered misleading because it did not make clear that flights depended on customers paying for accommodation provided by the promoters.

The ASA said: “Although we welcomed MBNA’s assurance that they would amend the front of future promotions to make it clear that designated accommodation must be bought in conjunction with the free flights, we noted that the main body of the mailing made no reference to accommodation. Because we considered that that significant condition of the offer was not sufficiently prominent, we concluded the ad was likely to mislead.”

The ASA rejected the complainants’ assertion that the hotel accommodation was charged at an inflated rate to cover the cost of the flights.

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