ASA Adjudication on MyCityDeal Ltd
MyCityDeal Ltd t/a
1 Liverpool Street
9 February 2011
Number of complaints:
A sales promotion on the website Groupon MyCityDeal stated "Today's deal: £24 instead of £92 for a four course meal for two, a bottle of wine or two pints of any alcoholic or soft drink at the multi award winning, Waggon and Horses - Save 74%".
Further text stated "Highlights - Full menu is available, including specials board - Sit back and relax in this traditional English pub - Sample the taste of the finest local produce at this Gastro pub - The head chef's creation the Nottinghamshire Pie is recognised and accredited by the National Tourism Board".
The complainant challenged whether the ad was misleading, because he believed it exaggerated the saving.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
Groupon said that the calculation of the offer price was made on the basis of the most expensive items exchangeable for the voucher. They said that that price was available at the time they signed the deal with the Waggon and Horses, and to their knowledge the price had been available since. They said that, following a recent ASA adjudication on a similar case, they had changed their practice so that they always stated in the fine print that the offer was based on the most expensive items available from the menu.
They added that they had no commercial interest in misleading their customers because if an offer was poorly described on their website it detrimentally affected their relationship with customers and business partners alike. They said they had extensive processes in place to ensure quality assurance.
Groupon said they were unable to provide copies of the restaurants menu because it was presented on a chalkboard in the restaurant and varied from day to day depending on what was available. They provided an e-mail from the restaurant that confirmed the range of prices charged.
The ASA acknowledged that, following a similar ASA adjudication since the receipt of the complaint, Groupon had started to note in the fine print of their restaurant promotions that savings claims were based on voucher holders choosing the most expensive items on the menu.
We noted that Groupon had stated that, at the time of signing the deal with the restaurant, it was possible to spend £92 on a four-course meal for two. However, we considered that the ad implied that customers would always save 74 per cent on a four-course meal. We acknowledged that, by selecting the most expensive items on the menu at the time the deal appeared, the total cost of the meal was £92 and the advertised saving of 74 per cent was accurate. However, we considered that not every customer would choose the most expensive menu items and that, depending on the availability of certain menu items on the day, it might not always be possible to bring the total cost of the meal to £92.
We considered that, in order to make clear that 74 per cent was the maximum saving that could be achieved, the savings claim should have been qualified as an "up to" claim and the ad should have made clear that the savings calculation was based on the voucher holders choosing the most expensive menu items. Because such qualifications were lacking, we concluded that the sales promotion was misleading.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading Advertising), 3.17 (Prices), 8.1, 8.2 (Sales Promotions) and 8.14 (Sales Promotions - Administration).
The ad must not appear again in its current form.
Adjudication of the ASA Council (Non-broadcast)