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Drive by shootings in the industry

Thursday, June 14th 2007, 6:28AM

by Philip Macalister

Yesterday's story about a compliant against Instant Finance's advertising raises a couple of issues.

We headlined it as Instant Finance dodging a bullet. There is no doubt that is true, it did dodge a bullet fired at it. The question is should the bullet have been allowed to have been fired in the first place?

My answer is no. This is the equivalent of a drive by shooting. What is a little sinister about it is Instant Finance's view the bullet may have been fired by a competitor or someone with links to a competitor.

I have no idea who the compliant is and whether this is true or not.

If it is there should be some thought about changes to how the advertising complaints system works. I am aware that often it is a competitor who lodges complaints with the ASA, and that the system is described as self-policing. What possibly needs to happen is that there should be some sort of disclosure involved in the process.

The other thought, and anyone who reads the 12 page decision will see, is that the original decision made by the ASA about the use of the word trust was pretty uninformed. Basically it boiled down to the use of the word trust in financial services.

One could argue that maybe Instant Finance didn't argue its case strongly enough in the first instance and it was fortunate that an appeal was allowed and that the original decision was suppressed until the appeal was finished.

The whole process makes one think there should be some changes to the complaints system which sets very high standards for financial advertising and that disclosure would be a good thing too.

It also shows that the finance company sector is highly competitive and people are prepared to have a crack at companies doing well.

« Guarantees and MorganMoves a foot at Broadbase »

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ICBC 7.85 7.05 6.69 6.59
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Kiwibank 8.50 7.99 7.79 7.55
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