The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a lead generation company from sending unsolicited text messages offering pension liberation to consumers.
Following a complaint, the ASA found that Clarity Leads' messages breached the Committee of Advertising (CAP) Code and must not be sent out again.
The text messages read: "Trapped or frozen pension? Release large cash sum now! Achieve high growth yield. Reply PENSION for info or STOP to opt out."
Clarity Leads denied that it was responsible for sending the messages.
However, the ASA said a claims management company proved it had bought "pension SMS positives" - leads with which to target more business - from Clarity Leads and therefore held the firm responsible.
The ASA found that the messages were sent unsolicited and that they did not reveal the identity of the marketer, breaching CAP Code rules 3.5 and 10.6.
It said the ad must not appear again in its current form.
"We told Clarity Leads to hold the explicit consent of consumers before sending text messages in future. We also told them to ensure that future text messages included details of their identity," the ASA said in its decision.
The decision comes amid increased focus on pension liberation schemes. Earlier this year, The Pensions Regulator, along with several other watchdogs, launched a high profile awareness campaign for consumers about the issue (PP Online, 10 February).
Last year, authorities reported a wave of cold-calls, particularly targeting local authority scheme members, offering them ‘pension bonuses' or giving fake warnings that their pensions were at risk (PP Online, 29 November 2012).
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