ASA Adjudication on Argos Ltd
489–499 Avebury Boulevard
Saxon Great West
Central Milton Keynes
4 July 2012
Internet (sales promotion)
Number of complaints:
A sales promotion, seen on www.argos.co.uk on 15 February 2012, offered an Olympus VR-310 14MP Digital Compact Camera. Text stated £98.95 Save 10% Was £109.99 ... Check stock in your area Enter full postcode ... Reserve it now ... Currently out of stock for delivery".
The complainant, who was unable to purchase the camera at a number of stores across the UK, challenged whether it was available.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
Argos Ltd (Argos) said the camera was a "Run Out" product and that "Run Out' products were either sent to the clearance team to be displayed on the clearance website, or returned to the supplier. They also said, in this case, the camera had been withdrawn from stores and returned to the supplier. They said, as a result of an error which they were investigating, the product page had not been removed from the main Argos website when the new catalogue was launched. They also said, because the product was returned to the supplier, there was no stock to sell and therefore no tracking of its sales and availability during the period in which it appeared.
The ASA noted Argos said an error had occurred which resulted in the display of the product on the main Argos website. We also noted they said, because the product had been returned to the supplier, there was no stock to sell. However, we considered that Argos had a responsibility to ensure that their websites did not mislead consumers, which included ensuring that sales promotions were administered in such a way that avoided causing unnecessary disappointment. We considered that, because the product was unavailable, Argos had failed to conduct their promotion equitably and efficiently and concluded that it breached the Code.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition12) rules 3.1 and 3.3 (Misleading advertising), 8.2 (Sales promotions), 8.9 (Availability) and 8.14 (Administration).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Argos to ensure that future sales promotions were conducted equitably and efficiently.