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By Paul Sandford, the ASM Plus director.

One particular advantage of watching television through a satellite system as I sometimes do, is that I can fast forward through the advertisement breaks. Having done so and then having to endure them when subsequently watching a terrestrial channel can be rather annoying.

One particularly noteworthy example I recall portrays a mother who has to bake a cake for her daughter’s school fete. Partway through the process she panics because her fridge freezer breaks down – why? Another ad features a top athlete, purportedly training, who is filmed running around the streets with a dog on a lead. The bathroom featured in the ad in which Barry Whateverhisnameis rather patronizingly demonstrates one cleaning product or another, is always disproportionately large.

Obviously, these are only advertisements and they are not for real. However, they appear to depict a tinted glass version of middle-class Britain which for most families, just doesn’t exist. The world is not full of inept mothers who don’t know which kitchen appliance they should use in order to do some cooking. Equally, how many top-class athletes organise their training around taking the dog for a walk?

Invariably, the underlying messages in TV ads are dubious to say the least. A classic example is of the lady who is rushing off to work one morning only to be called back to the house by her son who announces that “the boiler is on the blink”. Instead of telling him to try the time honoured process of switching it off and switching it off again she immediately decides to borrow money at a frighteningly high 2000% in order to replace the boiler! Was she not persuaded to sign a maintenance contract a couple of years back? Could it be that a fuse needs replacing?

The same is true of television ads which trumpet the benefits of so called “no-win no fee” claims which promise zillions and perhaps very disingenuously portray court proceedings as a walk in the park.

Essentially, with mediation, what you see is what you get. The process is simple and not difficult to explain or to understand. The advantages of mediation will be explained by a mediator but there is no question of raising false hopes or making false promises.

If you have a dispute that needs resolving, why not have a preliminary, no obligation chat with the ASM Plus director? It will cost you nothing – not at all like taking out a substantial loan for a new boiler that you may not even need!

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