Consumer champion Martin Lewis has won a battle against a payment protection insurance claims firm that used his image to promote their services.
Lewis and Moneysavingexpert.com, the website he founded, challenged two advertisements from Civil Claim Services.
One was a Facebook post that included text stating that “the BBC, Martin Lewis and national press have all announced a PPI deadline is in place”.
The ad then gave its website address as a place to run PPI checks and included an image of Martin Lewis. It had text printed over the image that said “finally a PPI reclaim company you can trust” in quotation marks.
A second ad was a paid-for Facebook post which also mentioned the BBC, Lewis and the national press and included the text: “we are in no way recommended by Martin Lewis or the BBC, we are merely using images freely available in line with current legislation to reinforce the deadline message”. That post included the same image and overlaid quote as the other one.
Lewis complained to the Advertising Standards Authority asking if the posts breached its code.
The claims firm, Civil Claim Services, said the ads were removed from their Facebook page and could no longer be seen by consumers. It said it had outlined in the second ad that it was not endorsed by the BBC, Lewis or the national press and that it was entitled to use the images.
The firm said it had not claimed Lewis endorsed its services and that “all steps had been taken to rectify that misunderstanding with the disclaimer at the end of the image”.
The ASA said it was likely both images would be understood by consumers as meaning Lewis had endorsed the advertiser’s product, upholding Lewis’ complaint.
The decision says: “We acknowledged that not every use of an image of a person with a public profile would be regarded as an endorsement. However, these particular ads gave the overall impression that Martin Lewis had endorsed Civil Claims Services.”
It says: “The ad must not appear again in the form complained of. We told Civil Claim Services to ensure they did not imply their service had been endorsed by any specific individual unless that was the case.”