Firm behind the Insure My websites slapped on the wrist over fake testimonials was taken down after the complaint was lodged.

By Killian Woods Reporter, Fora

IRISH INSURANCE PROVIDER has been cautioned by Ireland’s advertising watchdog for publishing fake testimonials from customers on its website.

The website was established by Jonathan Hehir and is part of a network of sites that fall under the Insure My brand, which also sells insurance for houses and vans. The domain was registered in 2013.

The complaint made to the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) referred to a number of testimonials that appeared on that showed how much customers saved from switching to the provider.

In 2015, the complainant tried to get a quote from the broker but they were informed the company was not in a position to offer insurance because the service wasn’t fully operational.

In the submission, the complainant said they felt the testimonials, which included the person’s name, age and area, were misleading and questioned if they were in fact real customers.

When asked to provide proof of the testimonials, the company told the ASAI that the samples on the website did not refer to real customers and were examples of savings that could be made. noted that it was explained on the site that each of these testimonials was not real and based on data available to the company.

It said the quotations referenced in testimonials were based on accurate comparisons from the time the website was created.

Taken down

In its submission as part of the investigation, the advertiser said that the website was launched in December 2014, but was closed down soon after when the underwriter withdrew from the deal.

The committee that reviewed the case upheld the complaint. It ruled that, since the testimonials were not provided by real customers, they were misleading.

Before the judgement had been finalised, the company said that after it was notified about the complaint, the site was immediately amended and the quotation section was removed.

Since the misleading material was already taken down, the ASAI told it should not use testimonials in future unless they can prove they come from “genuine customers”.

The homepage of the website is now listed as “under maintenance”, but the company said it is in discussions with a new underwriter.

Fora contacted Hehir for comment but he was unavailable at the time of publishing.