The king has triumphed
Mortgage broking giant Mike Pero Mortgages and local Christchurch-based broker The Mortgage King go another round in their long-running duel.
Friday, September 28th 2001, 7:50AM
Mike Pero Mortgages has complained to the Advertising Standards Complaints Board that a radio ad run by the Mortgage King alleging that the ad was "very misleading and more than mere puffery."
The basis of the ad is a series of examples where borrowers had achieved big savings by doing business with the Chris O'Dell at the Mortgage King.
For example: "Chris and Jenny repaid a whole $98,000 mortgage in two and a half years...I know what you're thinking but no, they don't have huge incomes, they haven't won Lotto...They took sound advice from someone who really cares about the cost of borrowing."
O'Dell told the ASCB that his ad was "absolutely factual".
He said he has a social responsibility to tell people of the huge savings they can make by arranging their mortgages in a way which does "not expose them to exploitation by the lending institutions in the form of huge amounts of interest over long periods of time."
He also takes a crack at Mike Pero saying that in the past 8-10 year many complaints have been laid against him, but not have ever amounted to anything.
"What is surprising however is that almost all of the complaints have been made or originated from Mike Pero.
"Mr Pero has complained bitterly about me to just about anybody who can be bothered to listen and not one of his complaints has ever had any substance."
At the end of the first round the ASCB gave a win to Mike Pero on the grounds that O'Dell hadn't substantiated his claims to the board.
O'Dell, unhappy with the decision, rolled in his lawyer Owen Paulson, who wrote a lengthy and terse letter to the board ordering it to rehear the compliant or find itself in front of the High Court.
He wrote that the decision was "substantively wrong" and that the board had only asked O'Dell for his "comments" on the complaint.
O'Dell did just that on the belief that it was a screening process to see "whether it was necessary to investigate the complaint." He assumed if there was a case to answer he would be asked to provide additional evidence.
Paulson told the ASCB that it had "deprived (his client) of a fair hearing, as they did not have the opportunity to put all relevant information before you."
He went on to say the decision would cause the Mortgage King "significant commercial embarrassment" and that Mike Pero Mortgages may use the decision "for commercial advantage".
"My clients have no doubt this will occur. Unless you rehear the complaint my clients will have no option but to seek High Court intervention."
The ASCB did rehear the complaint and decided that because the ad was factual and maintained a high standard of social responsibility, the complaint should not be upheld.
This round went to O'Dell who says he plans to run another campaign "of similar type and style."
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