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ASA Adjudication on Photo Paper Direct Ltd

Photo Paper Direct Ltd

Unit 15, Brakeshear House
164 High Street
Barnet
EN5 5XP

Date:

25 January 2012

Media:

Internet (on own site)

Sector:

Business

Number of complaints:

1

Complaint Ref:

A11-177377

Ad

A website advertising inkjet photo paper, T-shirt transfers and inkjet media, seen on 10 November 2011, showed the prices of a number of products on the home page. When individual product pages were selected, the price was restated with "(excluding VAT)" next to it.  

Issue

The complainant challenged that the website was misleading because the quoted prices did not include VAT.

CAP Code (Edition 12)

Response

Photo Paper Direct Ltd (Photo Paper Direct) said they did not believe their website was misleading. They said the majority of their customers were trade and so required VAT-free prices and that a significant number of their customers were overseas buyers who were not liable to pay VAT. They estimated that in the region of 70% of their customers were either VAT registered businesses or overseas customers who are exempt. They said that customers would be quoted the final price, inclusive of VAT, before they had to commit to payment, and so it was possible for customers to withdraw from purchasing the product. They also said the prices on the individual product pages were clearly marked as excluding VAT and so they did not believe their pricing was misleading. They said they had not received any complaints from customers about their pricing.

Assessment

Upheld

The ASA noted that Photo Paper Direct did not include VAT in any of their website prices, and it was only stated they did not include VAT when individual product pages were viewed. We also noted Photo Paper Direct asserted that approximately 70% of their customers were either VAT registered businesses or overseas customers who are exempt. However, we concluded that, because it was used by consumers and prices inclusive of VAT were not displayed, the website was misleading.

The website breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising) and 3.17 and 3.18 (Prices).

Action

We told Photo Paper Direct to ensure that they displayed VAT inclusive prices on their website if the audience included consumers.   

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