ASA concludes PaymentSense job ad ‘not misleading’

The Advertising Standards Authority has not upheld a complaint against a job ad placed by merchant service provider PaymentSense for a field sales agent in Stratford.

The ad, seen on job search engine Indeed on 12 April, contained a sub-heading on the page stating: ‘Salary: £0-80k per year’, with further text saying: ‘Self-employed (Excellent commission structure + Recurring payments) … Come and work for PaymentSense for the opportunity of UNCAPPED EARNINGS with realistic earning potential of £80k in year 1!’

The complainant in this case challenged whether the claim ‘realistic earning potential of £80k’ was misleading and could be substantiated.

In its response PaymentSense said that field sales agents worked on a self-employed basis, adding they did not impose targets or minimum hours and therefore agents had control over the commitment they put into the role.

PaymentSense also stated that the job listing indicated a salary range, which showed that there was no guaranteed basic salary included in the role, and provided copies of the gross annual earnings for all their field sales agents from 2011 to date. Their evidence showed that of the 340 current field sales agents, 10 earned £80k or more and a further seven earned between £64k and £80k.

PaymentSense explained that some field sales agents worked on a part-time basis alongside other roles, adding that a large number of agents chose to work with PaymentSense for fewer than 12 months. Consequently, due to these factors they argued the average salary was not an accurate reflection of the earning potential of the role.

In its assessment, the ASA noted the job listing stated a salary range of ‘£0-£80k per year’ and included text stating ‘there is no basic salary …’. The ASA said it considered consumers would interpret those claims to mean that there was no fixed salary for the role and earnings would depend entirely on commission and would understand that they could potentially earn up to £80k and would not expect that figure to be a representation of the average earnings in the role.

The ASA added the breakdown of earnings showed a variation between the top and the lowest earning agents, and while the average earnings of current agents was below £80k, they understood that some agents worked part time and others did the role for only a short period so the average was therefore not reflective of the earnings potential. 

With evidence showing a number of people earned above £80k, with the highest earning agent making approximately £143k within their first 12 months, the ASA said it was satisfied that field sales agents had been paid within the quoted salary range and that the uncapped nature of the commission scheme meant that successful applicants had the opportunity to earn up to £80k.

Because PaymentSense had supplied data that showed that £80k was an obtainable salary within the role, the ASA concluded that the ad was not misleading and no further action necessary.

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