These reports are case summaries of complaints which appeared to raise issues of substance in relation to the interpretation of the ITC Advertising Standards Code. Summary statistics of non-substantive complaints can be found in the full reports which are obtainable from the ITC.
POST OFFICE - FOREIGN CURRENCY
Complaint from: 8 viewers
The advertisement claimed that the Post office offered "nothing to pay on exchanging foreign currency ... 0% commission". Superimposed text stated "Excludes Sterling travellers cheques".
The complainants believed that the advertising was misleading as it had failed to mention significant restrictions that applied to the offer. Three stated that they had in fact been charged commission on purchasing foreign currency. Three stated that they had been told that in order to be able to change money back to sterling they would need to produce a receipt showing that they had bought the currency from the Post Office and that the service was only available in larger Post Offices. One complainant said that he had been unable to change back Nigerian currency.
The advertiser explained that it offered a range of 30 currencies and confirmed that the 0% commission offer applied to all these currencies (excluding Sterling travellers' cheques). The currency buy-back service was available at all Post Office branches (approximately 17,000) and covered the 30 currencies it offered. If the buy-back service was used at one of 600 main Post Offices, at which foreign currency could be obtained on-demand without pre-ordering, a receipt would not be required. However, at other, smaller, branches a receipt would be needed or else commission at normal rates would be payable. The advertiser had not believed that a reference to receipts was necessary, as the advertisement did not refer to the buy-back service specifically. It stated that it would ensure that future advertisements for its foreign currency services would refer to the fact that a receipt would be necessary for the service in some branches. The advertiser offered to re-imburse any of the complainants that had wrongly been charged commission.
The BACC said that it had been informed by the advertiser that there were no terms and conditions applying to the offer other than that it excluded sterling travellers' cheques.
ITC noted that the offer did cover all the currencies offered by the Post Office. The first three complainants therefore appeared to have simply been wrongly charged. It also noted that the Post Office did not offer Nigerian currency and therefore had not offered the buy back service in relation to this currency. It judged, however, that the advertisement had given a misleading impression by not alerting viewers wishing to use the buy-back service to the fact that, in the majority of Post Offices, a commission would be payable unless a receipt was presented. It required that the commercial not be shown again in its present form.
Complaints relating to receipt requirement upheld.