A claims management company apparently originating from Somalia has been ordered to stop sending misleading messages to consumers.
The Advertising Standards Authority said the company, from www.accidentinjuryclaim.so, had breached its standards in a message sent through a mobile phone.
The suffix .so identifies the website as being hosted in Somalia. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against all travel to Somalia and says it is unable to provide consular assistance in the country.
The mobile phone message read: ‘Its [sic] been signed off, we have 2886.41 in your name for the accident you had, for us to put in your bank [sic],’ before urging the recipient to fill in a form on its website.
A complainant said the message was misleading as they had not been involved in any accident or made such a claim.
The ASA investigated the claim but received no response when it tried to contact the company. The complaint was upheld on the grounds of both misleading advertising and substantiation.
In a ruling published today, the ASA said it was ‘concerned by the lack of response’ and ‘apparent disregard’ for the advertising standards code.
The ruling added: ‘We reminded them of their responsibility to respond promptly to our enquiries and we told them to do so in future.
'Since we had not seen any evidence showing that the complainant had been involved in an accident, had made a claim or was entitled to the money referred to in the text message, we concluded that the claim had not been substantiated and was misleading.’
The advertisement cannot appear again in its current form and the company and its website have been told they must not state that they can hold money for people to claim when it was not the case.