When I wrote about my doubts over the use of marketing material by Vanquis, I thought I would make my complaint to ASA, explain why I felt there was a complaint, they would look at the copy of the envelope I sent them, tell Vanquis off and that would be it. I didn’t realise that there’d be a full-blown investigation into it.
ASA have written to me again before they submit their report to the ASA council because Vanquis have provided further information. I can’t be bothered comparing the drafts to see what Vanquis have added, so you can have a look for yourself:
In for a penny, in for a pound, I guess.
Seeing as ASA are going to the trouble of taking my complaint so seriously (and are in the opinion that the complaint should be upheld), I thought I’d write to them, as suggested, with any further comments I may have. I do have further comments:
The inclusion of the bank’s logo as well as the logos of VISA, TNT and Royal Mail do not automatically make the letter an obvious marketing communication. With regards to the return address on the rear, most letters I receive have a return address on the rear, so this mean absolutely nothing.
Vanquis Bank said that the presence of their name on the exterior of the envelope did not imply they had an existing relationship with the recipient. I disagree with this comment as Vanquis Bank have sent a letter personally to me, creating a relationship. I did not ask for this relationship and have no choice in the matter as I can’t select what comes through my letterbox. I would rather have no relationship with Vanquis Bank which would be reflected and confirmed by the lack of any communication sent to me by them whatsoever.
Vanquis Bank said the Speedsure sticker made no claim to be a piece of mail sent as a recorded delivery and that there was a limited period to respond to the mailing. If this was the case, surely the words “limited time offer” printed on the envelope would have been more direct, informative and less misleading. Furthermore, the material inside the envelope made no mention of a limited time offer- it seemed like the same old offer which is always available. Can Vanquis Bank prove that this was a limited time offer and that it differed to any standard/other offers?
Vanquis Bank mention the inclusion of various logos for genuine organisations on the envelope. If they’re so keen to point this out, are they able to explain why the pretend label printed on the envelope included the name “Speedsure”, which is not the name of any legitimate business that I could find? It’s certainly not a courier/delivery service.
Vanquis Bank claim not to mail solicitations to existing customers. If this is the case, Vanquis Bank are one of only a few organisations who don’t offer other/similar products and services to existing customers.
I’ve sent my additional comments to ASA via email and in writing, so hopefully that will be it now and all I’ll receive is a report detailing the outcome of my complaint. Credit where credit’s due, the folk at ASA are doing a top job.