You are here: Home - Household Bills - News -

Warning over copycat EHIC websites as watchdog pulls ad

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
A website offering to check and submit applications for the free-to-obtain NHS European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for £35 has been reprimanded by the advertising watchdog.

Application Advice Service UK Ltd trading online as offered to help customers with their EHIC application form for a fee of £35.

The EHIC gives UK citizens access to free or reduced-price healthcare in other EU countries.

However, small text in grey italics towards the bottom of the page stated that it was “neither affiliated with nor part of the NHS” and that it “cannot grant you an EHIC card” but customers can obtain an EHIC card from the NHS without its checking service, where there will be no fees payable.

The NHS Business Services Authority and eight members of the public challenged whether the ad misleadingly implied that it was the official NHS website for EHIC applications or that it was affiliated with the official website.

In its response, Application Advice Service UK Ltd stated that 5,000 customers use its service each month and that “they had read and understood the disclaimers on their website.”

However, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld the complaints, finding that the section titles within the form were in blue, similar to the shade used in the NHS logo and on the official site.

It also noted the layout of the home page and the application form was “simple” and did not include any images or additional graphics which it considered “were likely to contribute to an immediate impression that the website was the official NHS EHIC application website or that it was affiliated with the official website.”

In its ruling, the AS stated: “We did not consider that the disclaimer was sufficiently prominent to counteract the misleading impression that the EHIC Applications UK website was the official application website, or that it was affiliated with the official NHS website.”

The ASA told the company that the ad must not appear again in the form complained about and its website mustn’t create a misleading impression that it was the official NHS website for EHIC applications or that they were affiliated with the official NHS website. Further, the website should make immediately clear the non-official nature of the service on offer and the additional cost of using that service compared to using the official service directly.

To apply for a free EHIC, see the official government site.

There are 0 Comment(s)

If you wish to comment without signing in, click your cursor in the top box and tick the 'Sign in as a guest' box at the bottom.

Are you a first-time buyer looking for a mortgage?

Look no further, get the help you need by searching for your perfect mortgage

Five ways to get on the property ladder without the Bank of Mum and Dad

A report suggests the Bank of Mum and Dad is running low on funds. Fortunately, there are other options for st...

The essential Your Money guide to the April 2018 tax changes

As we head into the 2018/19 tax year, a number of key changes take place to existing policies while some new i...

A guide to switching energy provider

All you need to know about switching from one energy supplier to another.

What will happen if rates change

How your finances will be impacted by a rise in interest rates.

Regular Savings Calculator

Small regular contributions can build up nicely over time.

Online Savings Calculator

Work out how your online savings can build over time.

Having a baby and your finances: seven top tips

We’re guessing the Duchess of Cambridge won’t be fretting about maternity pay or whether she’ll still be...

Protecting family wealth: 10 tips for cutting inheritance tax

Inheritance tax - sometimes known as 'death tax' - can cause even more heartache for bereaved families. But th...

Travel insurance: Five tips to ensure a successful claim

Ahead of your summer holiday, it’s important to make sure you have the right level of travel cover or you co... Awards 2018

Now in their 21st year, our awards recognise the companies offering the best products and services to consumers

Money Tips of the Week

  • 4 in 10 grandparents (5.8 million) give their children and grandchildren a helping hand, gifting an average of £1,4…
  • RT @YourMoneyUK: Beneficiaries of #pension transfers made while the holder was in poor #health could be hit with shock 40% inheritance #tax
  • RT @YourMoneyUK: Beneficiaries of #pension transfers made while the holder was in poor #health could be hit with shock 40% inheritance #tax
Read previous post:
Younger workers expect to retire aged 60

UK workers have unrealistic expectations about when they’ll be able to stop work, with young people thinking they’ll be able...