ASA Adjudication on MyCityDeal Ltd
MyCityDeal Ltd t/a
1 Liverpool Street
9 November 2011
Number of complaints:
An e-mail and website promotion for a hotel:
a. The e-mail stated "Today's deal: One Night Stay For Two With Breakfast (£79) or Two Nights Plus Three Course Dinner (£149) ... (Up to 59% Off) View now For £79 Discount 52% Saving £86.50".
b. The website stated "Today's deal: One Night Stay For Two With Breakfast (£79) or Two Nights Plus Three Course Dinner (£149) ... (Up to 59% Off) Buy it Now! Amount: from £79.00 Discount 52% You save £86.50". Further text stated "£79 for one night stay for two with breakfast (£165.50 value)".
The complainant, who received the e-mail and visited the website on 13 July 2011, and did not believe the value of £165.50 could be substantiated, challenged whether it was misleading.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
Groupon said they based the "up to" discount on the price of one night's stay for a period during the time the voucher was valid, and a bottle of wine. They said the price for one night's stay with breakfast was £149 and a bottle of wine was £16.50. They submitted two screenshots of the hotel's website and believed this substantiated that the value of the offer was £165.50. They said the promotion should have stated "up to £165.50" and would ensure that future value claims made this clear.
The ASA acknowledged that Groupon said an "up to" statement had been omitted from the promotion and we welcomed their assurance they would correct this in future. We noted one screenshot of the hotel's website showed that the best available rate for the date searched for, for a standard double room, for a one-night stay for two people, was £149 and that this included a full English breakfast. We also noted that the other screenshot showed that the price normally charged by the hotel for an optional extra of providing a bottle of wine was £16.50 and that these two prices were equal to £165.50. We acknowledged that Groupon had shown that a one-night's stay for two with a bottle of wine provided by the hotel could cost up to £165.50. However, we considered most readers would understand from the ad that £165.50 was the price at which a one-night stay for two with breakfast was generally offered by the hotel. We noted the room price of £149 on which the savings claim was based related to a Friday night, when prices were likely to be higher than the average, and considered that, without the inclusion of the prefix "up to" before the discount and savings claims, the promotion was likely to mislead about the savings on offer for the one night stay. Furthermore, we noted that the bottle of wine cost £16.50 when purchased as an upgrade to a standard reservation made via the hotel's website, but that neither ad made clear that the headline "value" included this additional cost. We considered that the promotion should have stated more prominently that the value of the deal on offer was "up to" £165.50 and that it was based on a one-night's stay for two with breakfast and a bottle of wine on arrival. We concluded that the "value" of the deal as stated was therefore misleading.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), and 3.17 (Prices).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Groupon to ensure statements of value were an accurate representation of the price at which the "deal" was normally offered and, where relevant, made clear the basis for any savings claim.