ASA Adjudication on National Boat Shows Ltd
National Boat Shows Ltd
Thorpe Lea Road
30 March 2011
Number of complaints:
An email advertised a ticket offer for the London International Boat Show. Text stated "EARLY BOOKING TICKET OFFER - TWO TICKETS FOR £20* ...". Small print at the foot of the email stated "*TICKET OFFER IS ON STANDARD ADULT TICKETS ONLY AND EXCLUDES PUBLIC PREVIEW DAY 7TH JANUARY 2011. TRANSACTION FEE APPLIES ...".
A recipient challenged whether the ad was misleading because the quoted price did not include a mandatory transaction fee of £1.75.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
National Boat Shows Ltd said their ticket pricing policy was devised to be as clear as possible regarding the cost to the customer, and was devised specifically to avoid misleading quotations and unfair additional costs. They said the transaction fee was applied to the entire transaction regardless of ticket numbers, meaning if they were required to incorporate that cost into the ticket price they would be forced to change their charging structure. They said they believed that that would be less fair and more costly to customers.
The ASA noted the offer explicitly stated "TWO TICKETS FOR £20", when it was not possible to purchase tickets for £20 under any circumstances. We considered that the unavoidable price to consumers was £21.75 and because the ad did not include the non-optional transaction fee in the quoted price we concluded the ad was misleading.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1, 3.3 (Misleading advertising), and 3.18 (Prices).
The ad must not appear in its current form again. We advised National Boat Show Ltd to use inclusive prices for similar promotions in future.
Adjudication of the ASA Council (Non-broadcast)