Professional Fee Protection (PFP) has been carpeted by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for publishing a misleading advert about its direct rival Abbey Tax Protection (ATP).

ATP made three complaints after the cartoon-style advert for a professional insurance plan appeared in an accounting magazine last April.

It was entitled True Story and was about a fish and chip shop owner, a member of the Federation of Small Business (FSB), who was confused about who would cover his accountant's fees when he was investigated by the Inland Revenue.

ATP provides professional fees insurance to firms of accountants and, through its Abbey Legal Protection arm, acts as a consultant to the FSB. It often advises FSB members in the event of an investigation, but FSB membership does not entitle members to accountants' fees coverage.

ATP argued that the advertisement implied it was misleading FSB members into thinking they had cover, only for them to find later they did not.

PFP countered that the advertisement only implied that the shop owner was not aware of the cost of accountancy fees incurred during an investigation.

The ASA found in favour of ATP and has asked PFP to remove the advert and consult its Committee of Advertising Practice Copy Advice team before it advertised again.