ASA Adjudication on Debenhams Retail plc
Debenhams Retail plc
1 Welbeck Street
Buy it Direct Ltd
Trident Business Park
HuddersfieldA HD2 1UA
3 October 2012
Internet (on own site)
Number of complaints:
Claims on www.debenhamsplus.com stated "Indesit 6/5kg 1200rpm White Freestanding Washer Dryer ... SAVE 24% You save: £113.00". The washer dryer was listed as costing "£353.00".
An internet user challenged whether the claim "You save: £113.00" was misleading and could be substantiated, because she understood the washer dryer had not previously been sold for £113 more than the advertised price of £353.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
Buyitdirect, on behalf of Debenhams, explained that the "You save" price was driven by the price the product was previously sold and they were surprised that there was a possible discrepancy. They said they did not log historical prices for their White Label partners on their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system and were therefore unable to check the previous price for the washer dryer, without a considerable lengthy process to recover data from their backup files. They said they were in the process of overhauling their systems, which would allow price history to be logged internally and also on the website, making savings claims instantly verifiable.
The ASA was concerned that Buyitdirect was unable to substantiate the advertised savings claim and reminded them that the CAP Code required them to hold evidence to support such claims before publication. We welcomed their plans to overhaul their systems to ensure that savings claims could be verified in the future, but nonetheless noted that they were unable to easily substantiate the savings claim when it was published on the website. Because we had not seen evidence to support the advertised saving on the washer dryer, we therefore considered that the claim was misleading.
The claim breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation) and 3.17 (Prices).
The claim must not appear again in its current form. We told buyitdirect to ensure that they hold substantiation for any advertised savings claims at the time the claim is published.