Thomas Cook currency ad banTravel agent's currency boast 'unsubstantiated'

11 September 2009

Holiday money

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Thomas Cook has been forced to withdraw an advert claiming that the travel agent offered better exchange rates on foreign currency than the Post Office.  

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint made that Thomas Cook was wrong to maintain that it 'beat the Post Office exchange rates'.  

Thomas Cook stated that it had compared the Post Office's 'national' exchange rates for euros and US dollars for amounts under £500. The travel agent did not consider the rates offered by individual Post Office branches, as their understanding was the Post Office only introduced branch-specific rates after the campaign was launched. Thomas Cook told the ASA that it had instructed individual stores to beat the rates offered at their local Post Office branch after discovering that rates differed between branches. 

Unsubstantiated and misleading

The ASA rejected this argument after it discovered that the exchange rates offered at 301 Post Office branches were better on the day the ad campaign was launched. It ruled that the claims were 'unsubstantiated and misleading.' 

The offending advert featured a child on a beach holding a large 20 euro note while buying a balloon, along with the slogan.

A range of options

Which? travel money expert Dan Moore said: 'Currency rates fluctuate all the time. This makes finding the best deal very difficult, and advertising campaigns such as this one only make it even harder for consumers to know where to secure the best rate on the day.'

For more on where to get a good exchange rate on foreign currency, and for advice on what to look out for when buying travel money, visit

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