The Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASA) has ruled that FNB must withraw misleading claims from its Flexi Deposit Account adverts.
A claim was brought to the ASA saying that FNB’s Deposit Account adverts were misleading customers to believe that they could withdraw up to 30% of their deposited cash at any time.
The FNB Flexi Deposit Account, as advertised, allows customers to add money at any time to a 3-month investment account that provides “great interest” and gives customers “access to a portion” of their money at any time – a figure which the bank advertises as “up to 30%”.
Through exploring the account’s terms and conditions, the ASA found that customers could, in fact, not withdraw more than 15% of deposited cash at any one time – meaning that it would take two withdrawals of 15% over two days for the advertised conditions to be met.
Terms and conditions apply
Responding to the complaint, FNB said that “the advertising clearly mentions that one can withdraw UP TO 30%. At no stage during the advertisement is it claimed that the investor may unconditionally withdraw the entire 30%.”
FNB further cited a previous case regarding its “up to 15%” cash-back fuel reward, which was submitted to the ASA for similar claims of being misleading, which was overturned and dismissed as FNB’s terms and conditions adequately explained the rewards process.
However, this time the ASA ruled against FNB, highlighting a key difference in the cases: “There is a subtle but distinct difference between the above [fuel rewards] ruling and the current dispute,” the ASA said.
“In the FNB Money Back Fuel matter, there were certain conditions under which a customer could, as a matter of fact, get the full 15% back. The relevant terms and conditions were merely to explain under which circumstances one could qualify in full for the claimed reward.”
“In the current matter, one can never, as a matter of fact, withdraw 30% of the money deposited at any time. At best, one can ‘make up to two withdrawals of no more than 15% each’,” the ASA ruled.
As a result of the ruling, FNB must withdraw it’s “withdraw up to 30%” claim and may not use it in the current format in future.