Online advertising makes the grade! Print and radio could improve: Retirement villages bulletin 5

This publication is for: 
Retirement village owner / operator

21 May 2019

Compliant ad campaigns curb confusion

Consumer Protection has received a number of complaints about retirement living advertising.  Last month we conducted a review of online advertising for retirement villages in Western Australia. Our officers reached out to a number of village operators and real estate agents to review the accuracy and transparency in their advertising and marketing.

After a successful educational compliance campaign, we’re delighted to acknowledge the quick response from the field. All village operators and agents with whom we engaged have already adjusted their online advertising in accordance with the requirements.

This however has not been reflected in newspaper and radio advertisements, where there remains significant scope for improvement and clarification in overall information and the terminology used. The requirements for online ads apply to all advertising formats. For example, using the words “purchase” or “buy” a unit is misleading when you’re actually referring to a lease, not a purchase of the property.

Did you know?

Prospective residents commonly – and mistakenly – assume that entry into a retirement village includes automatic entry to an aged care facility associated with that village.

Is your retirement village co-located with an aged care facility? Choose your words carefully if you’re tempted to advertise aged care as a perk or added benefit to prospective buyers. 

To comply with the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) and the Retirement Villages Regulations 1992, messaging cannot suggest or imply guaranteed entry or access to aged care as part of buying into the village. 

If you didn’t have the opportunity to interact with the team last month, you can visit the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission website for information about the ACL rules to follow when advertising and promoting your business including:

  • What claims are illegal?
  • Fine print and qualifications
  • Substantiate your advertising claims
  • Wildly exaggerated claims (puffery)
  • What you should do in advertising
  • What you should not do in advertising

Our officers will continue to conduct proactive checks to provide education and ensure advertising remains in line with ACL requirements. We look forward to seeing future advertising and promotions that paint a clear and accurate picture of retirement village options for prospective clients.

Has this bulletin got you thinking about how your retirement village might fare in an overall compliance context?

You can review the full proactive compliance program visit checklist or call the Consumer Protection Contact Centre at 1300 304 054 to book a free compliance visit today.

​It’s tax time! ATO scams increase during EOFY

Be alert to tax scams which are usually prevalent in the months before and after the end of the financial year. 

Consumer Protection
Last updated 24 May 2019

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