IPA scorns Birmingham Post and Mail’s offer of arbitration

At a stormy meeting to resolve advertisers’ claims resulting from the Birmingham Post and Mail’s inflated circulation debacle, the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising rejected the paper’s offer to go to arbitration.

At a stormy meeting to resolve advertisers’ claims resulting from

the Birmingham Post and Mail’s inflated circulation debacle, the

Institute of Practitioners in Advertising rejected the paper’s offer to

go to arbitration.



Mediapolis managing director Marc Mendoza, one of the IPA’s

representatives at the meeting, accused the paper of ’obfuscation’ -

trying to cloud the issue.



Parent company Trinity Mirror is bracing itself for a potential pounds

20 million claim from advertisers following the revelation that the

Evening Mail, Sunday Mercury and the Post overstated circulation figures

over a six-year period.



Trinity Mirror intends to go ahead with the arbitration proposal and its

lawyers have written directly to IPA members outlining its plans.



These involve the setting up of a three-person panel chaired by a

QC.



The IPA was invited to nominate the other two members with the proviso

that they are independent.



The BPM is cutting ad rates on its titles by 10 per cent next year and

has frozen them for the year after. But Mendoza retorted: ’How do you

justify a rate increase when sales are 17 per cent lower?’



BPM managing director Mark Haysom said: ’We are intent on paying

compensation where it is warranted. The IPA is unlikely to be able to

help us, although it has not yet had the chance of discussing it with

its members.’ The IPA has since written to members advising them to

reject the proposals.



Haysom also claimed that 80 per cent of his larger customers were

satisfied with his proposals. But Mendoza argued that, because only 80

clients rejected the proposals, Haysom was not correct to assume the

rest were happy.



Mendoza also rejected the defence that agencies buy on readership

statistics.



’We plan on readership but we buy on circulation,’ he said. ’They need

to refund their customers. Who needs judges unless your motive is to

delay and confuse?’



Haysom countered: ’We want to ensure that claims are handled in a fair

manner. It would be unreasonable for us to make compensation payments

without testing individual claims.’



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