Advertising watchdog bites pet insurer over misleading ad

26 June 2018 - 09:22 By Nico Gous
Image: 123rf/ Maria Sbytova

We’ve got your dog covered - but not for a R30‚000 operation.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled that pet medical company Dotsure must immediately withdraw its commercial which implied they would cover such a costly operation for your dog.

In the commercial‚ veterinary surgeon Dr Thulani Mthimunye tells a story about a dog that broke his hip after being accidentally run over by its owner as she was driving into their driveway.

“Surgery like that costs a fortune. That dog may be here just because it was on Dotsure. No matter who you are‚ where you from‚ Dotsure it’s affordable for your pets. With Dotsure‚ you can name your price‚” he says.

A message on-screen states: “Emergency surgeries can cost as much as R30‚000.00*. Cover your pet from just R3 per day.”

Eleanor Richardson argued the commercial implied that Dotsure would pay for surgery up to R30‚000. Richardson said this was a lie and was misleading‚ because Dotsure only covers up to R10‚000.

Dotsure said that nowhere in the commercial did they explicitly state that they would cover up to R30‚000.

The ASA ruled the commercial was misleading‚ despite making no overt statements.

They said reasonable consumers will think their pet is covered‚ because of the on-screen message making reference to the R30‚000 amount.

The voice-over also says dogs may be alive only because they were covered by Dotsure.

The ASA ruled: “The reality is that‚ with R10‚000 cover‚ they still had to cover the bulk of the R30‚000 operation themselves.”

The ASA added that Dotsure selecting R30‚000 as an example was misleading and unnecessary.

“The Respondent [Dotsure] could have chosen a story where the entire cost of the procedure was covered by the insurance‚ used that figure on-screen‚ and have had no misunderstandings.”