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Beagles' ASA Peninsula complaint

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  • Beagles' ASA Peninsula complaint

    In January LegalBeagles submitted a complaint to The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about www.employeradvice.org an intermediary lead-generation website of Croner Group Ltd who are wholly owned by Peninsula Business Services Group Ltd and who provide employment law advice services to small & medium sized businesses.

    Over the past few years we have had concerns with the number and nature of reports posted on our forum by SME customers of Peninsula Business Services about issues with the trading practices of the company, ranging from allegations of mis-selling and poor complaints handling to onerous contract terms and inappropriate reputation management.

    After extensive and protracted correspondence between ourselves, ASA and the company over the last 10 months the ASA has finally published their decision and has ruled that the complaint is not upheld.

    https://www.asa.org.uk/rulings/crone...17-369621.html

    Although we accept the ASA's ruling we have asked the Independent Reviewer for his opinion.

    What the ruling doesn’t include are two other issues we complained of which were either informally resolved or acted on to at least some degree.

    Firstly, the website operator's identity was completely anonymous in that it failed to provide the kind of basic information one would expect to see as a matter of course on a reputable business-to-business website, such as a company name, geographical address, e-mail address, company registration number, place of registration, VAT number and privacy & terms of usage policies.

    But in stark contrast to the absence of any identifying information whatsoever, the website’s online contact form required respondents to supply their full name, company name, post code, telephone number and e-mail address without providing any indication as to who and where this personal and commercial data went to and how it was used, which we believe raised questions about compliance with the Data Protection Act.

    Shortly after Peninsula received the complaint from ASA a declaration appeared in small print at the foot of the website stating that ‘’www.employeradvice.org is an intermediary of Croner Group Limited, Hinckley UK’’, despite the fact that the registrant organisation of the website’s domain is Peninsula Business Services. The declaration includes an external link to Croner’s privacy policy which states, under the heading ‘’ What happens when you provide your Personal Information?’’, that your personal information ‘’will only be shared with other companies in the Croner Group Limited and not with any other organisation’’. But rather confusingly, further on in the policy it reveals that they may also share your data with third parties such as ‘’carefully selected business partners’’.

    The second complaint issue was that the employeradvice.org website used an 0844 telephone number for which the caller is charged at a higher rate than standard calls on BT's most popular call plan (BT Unlimited Weekend) but did not provide any cost information. The call to action for the telephone number stated ‘’call our FREE helpline now on 0844 728 0036’’ misleadingly implying that there was no cost for the call.

    We understand that ASA sought and received a written assurance that the website would be amended to show a freephone 0800 number, which we are pleased to note has been actioned.


    I like your pin shot
    I keep it with your letter
    Done up in blueprint blue
    It sure looks good on you
    And when you smile for the camera
    I know I'll love you better

    Then the shutter falls
    You see it all in 3-D
    It's your favorite foreign movie

    'Peg'

    Donald Jay Fagen

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