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FNB lodges complaint against Standard

Mar 23 2012 08:01 I-Net Bridge

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Johannesburg - First National Bank (FNB) on Thursday lodged a formal complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) against Standard Bank's claim that the rival bank was saving customers up to 50% in bank fees.

Standard Bank launched a pricing strategy at the Standard Bank global leadership centre on Thursday, saying it would introduce a low price offering, which all existing personal account holders would be moved to automatically.

Standard Bank chief executive Peter Schlebusch said he was expecting FNB to respond with a complaint against Standard Bank's claims.

"Standard Bank stated that the 50% saving will be available at a later date in April, some two weeks after the publication of the material. 

"FNB's position is that the advertisement sets out to sell non-existent or non-available products; this practice is prohibited by the ASA," said Bernice Samuels, FNB chief marketing officer, in a statement released on Thursday.

Samuels said that the claims Standard Bank made were not properly supported in their view.

"There are no further details on Standard Bank's website and no additional information is given should an interested person send an SMS as requested in the advertisement. The claims can be seen as misleading," she said.

This is not the first advertising-related dispute that the two megabanks have had.

Earlier this month, Standard Bank lodged a complaint with the ASA, saying that FNB advertised its products falsely.

The dispute caused further controversy when the two banks referred to each other on social networking site twitter on their respective accounts.

Schlebusch spoke about the dispute with FNB and said that Standard Bank lodged its complaint with the ASA with the interests of clients in mind.

"We don't think it was a twitter spat. We told the media and tweeted our issue with FNB's claims. If we hadn't tweeted it, it wouldn't have been a twitter issue.

"We were merely saying that we are prepared to go to war for clients, but let us all do so fairly and honestly," he said.

FNB said in the statement it would await the outcome of the dispute and respect the ASA's decision, and that it lodged the complaint "in the interests of a better informed public". 

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