ASA Adjudication on Last Minute Network Ltd
Last Minute Network Ltd t/a
39 Victoria Street
27 July 2011
Holidays and travel
Number of complaints:
A website, on 13 April 2011, advertised car hire offers. Text stated "FREE additional driver offers worldwide Barbados Dubai New Zealand Thailand europe France Germany Turkey Spain Alicante Barcelona Madrid Malaga".
A complainant challenged whether the offer was genuine, because she was told that a charge applied for a second driver when hiring a car in Spain.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
Holiday Autos stated that they worked with a number of suppliers in each country in which they offered car hire. They said they had several suppliers in Spain but their main supplier was Centauro, who normally offered a free additional driver on all car types. They said in April Centauro had not offered a free additional driver, but another supplier, Atesa, had.
Holiday Autos said that when searching, the complainant would have been given a range of hire options, with 16 of around 70 car hire options offering a free additional driver. They said they believed the customer had selected a car which did not offer a free additional driver, and that extra charge would have been shown in the additional driver section of the booking page.
Holiday Autos said the ad contained a click through to the full offer details, which stated that the additional driver offer was only available on selected cars in selected locations.
The ASA noted the main text in the ad stated “free additional driver offers available in some of our most popular locations”, and listed 11 locations. We considered that implied those locations were the popular locations where the free additional driver offer applied, and implied that when customers booked a car in those locations they would be able to add an additional driver for free.
We noted that only around 16 of 70 cars available for Alicante in April offered a free additional driver, and that the only way a customer could find out which cars the offer applied to was to click through to each car’s individual booking page.
Because the main text of the ad was not clear that the free additional driver offer only applied to some cars in some locations only, and because the offer was restricted to a small number of the available cars for hire, we considered the ad should have made the restricted nature of the offer clearer. We therefore concluded the ad was misleading.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising) and 3.7 (Substantiation).
The ad must not appear in its current form again.