Misleading adverts - Financial Conduct Authority

Misleading adverts

Last Modified: 15/06/2016
Find out the difference between clear and misleading financial advertising, and what to do when you think an advert is misleading.

Financial advertising and promotions should clearly explain what the product or service is, how it works and how you could benefit from it. It must also be clear about the costs involved and whether there are any risks to your money.

However, some financial adverts are not clear and fair, and we find some are misleading.

How to spot a misleading advert

Financial adverts and promotions can be misleading for many reasons, but there are some questions you can consider to help you spot and avoid misleading adverts, such as:

  • Do I have to pay a fee?
  • What are the interest rates and when will interest be paid?
  • Are the interest rates or returns being promoted realistic?
  • What are the risks to my money and is this clear?
  • How long do I have to commit for?
  • Are there any penalties if I want to move my money?
  • Is the product guaranteed and how does it work?
  • Are there important points that are only shown in the small print?

Report a misleading advert

We can look at adverts and promotions relating to most financial products and service, including banking and savings, investments and advice, insurance, mortgages, pensions, and loan and credit products.

If you think a financial advert or promotion is unfair or unclear, you can report a misleading advert to us.

When we find that an advert is misleading we can:

  • ask the firm to change or remove the advert
  • ask the firm to write to customers who may have been misled and compensate them if they have lost money as a result
  • warn or fine the firm

Please note that we usually cannot discuss our investigations or findings with you, but we appreciate you helping us to protect consumers and firms from misleading adverts.

Who else to contact

If you want to complain about more general parts of an advert or promotion, such as over the taste and decency or social responsibility, contact the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

Please be aware that we can not resolve individual disputes you have with a firm or arrange compensation. If you are unhappy with a financial product or service you should find out how to complain.

Consumer Helpline

Telephone: 0800 111 6768

See more ways to contact us

External links

Advertising Standards Authority (ASA)

Deals with general complaints about an advert or promotion

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