Hampshire Law Society
Success in removing misleading advertising from pack distributed by Registrar of Death
Towards the end of last year the Hampshire Law Society Committee became concerned about advertising contained within the pack handed out by Registrars of Death in Hampshire. It appeared that this had been going on for several years. The advertisement stated “If you would like practical advice of what to do when someone dies, you can contact Bereavement Advice Centre on freephone 0800 258 5525 or visit www.bereavementadvice.org ……………………… provided by ITC”.
During the past few years a number of our members who deal with probate work had become concerned about the activities of ITC (Independent Trust Company), as clients had found that on contacting the Bereavement Advice Centre, their details were passed to ITC, who then contact the bereaved person to sell probate work.
A letter was accordingly written to the Hampshire County Council, Legal Department, on 6th November 2013 stating that the Hampshire Law Society believed that the duty of impartiality on the part of Hants County Council might be breached by the fact that anyone reading it might think it is endorsed by the Hants County Council, and whilst the advertisement might not be factually accurate in its particulars, it might be regarded as such by virtue of its being misleading in relation to other providers in omitting realistic price comparators with Solicitors. The Society went on to say that it appeared that Hants County Council could appear to be endorsing the services of Bereavement Advice Centre and by implication providing ITC with a marketing opportunity.
We are pleased to report that as a result, the advertisement has been removed from wallets since January this year.