ASA Adjudication on Ebuyer (UK) Ltd
Ebuyer (UK) Ltd
7 December 2011
Number of complaints:
A website, for an online retailer, stated "Foehn & Hirsch Portable WiFi Internet Radio (Black)" and showed four and a half stars. Further text stated "17 reviews".
The complainant, who saw the ad on 17 September, challenged whether the claim "17 reviews" alongside the four and a half stars were misleading, because they believed the reviews displayed were selected to create a favourable impression.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
Ebuyer (UK) Ltd (Ebuyer) said reviews were submitted by customers and approved by project managers. They said current filters were pre-set to show those ratings which were most useful but that this could change and that, unless they showed the lowest rating first, reviews would always be more positive than negative.
The ASA noted Ebuyer said the reviews were submitted by customers, approved by project managers and pre-set to show ratings they believed would be most useful to consumers. However, we considered that negative reviews were likely to be as useful to consumers as positive reviews and understood that the complainant had submitted a negative review which had not been displayed. We also considered most readers would understand the claim "17 reviews", alongside the four and a half stars out of five, to mean that the reviews displayed were representative of the subjective opinion of customers and that, by omitting negative reviews, Ebuyer created a favourable impression that was likely to mislead consumers into purchasing the product. We noted they said four and a half stars was an actual score but did not receive any information as to how this score was calculated. We concluded that the claim was materially misleading.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1, 3.3 and 3.6 (Misleading advertising).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Ebuyer not to mislead consumers by selecting material to create a favourable impression.