ASA Adjudication on DSG Retail Ltd
DSG Retail Ltd t/a
Currys/ PC World
4 July 2012
Number of complaints:
M&C Saatchi (UK) Ltd
A TV ad for Currys and PC World, seen between 22 and 24 October 2011, stated "When it comes to Christmas wish lists we can help, like the perfect first camera. We've cut this super Fujifilm camera, with 3 times optical zoom and rechargeable battery, to £45, better than half price." On-screen text stated "£45 Better than half price" and "£99 from 21/9 - 13/10/11".
Camera Centre (Hailsham) challenged whether the "better than half price" claims were misleading, because they understood the recommended retail price (RRP) of the camera featured (the Fujifilm L55) was £59.99 and that its typical high street price was £49.
Currys and PC World said they were unaware of an RRP for the camera because they did not use RRPs or ask their suppliers for them. They said that the BCAP Code stated that comparisons with RRPs were "... likely to mislead if the RRP differs significantly from the price at which the product ... is generally sold" and that a study by the Office of Fair Trading stated that "... traders may wish to ensure that manufacturers can provide them with substantiation that the RRP represents a genuine selling price and has been properly price established. The use of RRPs as a reference price without such substantiation leaves the trader open to the risk that the RRP is fictitious or otherwise misleading". They believed there was no evidence that the RRP quoted by the complainant had been properly price established or that it was an actual sale price or a price that met consumers' expectations. They said the £49 referred to by the complainant differed significantly from the price at which the product was generally sold at that time. They supplied pricing data from two national high street chains, Argos and Jessops, which showed that the Fujifilm L55 was priced at £74.99 at Argos between 21 September and 13 October 2011 and at £99.95 at Jessops between 27 September and 13 October 2011, in addition to it being priced at Currys and PC World at £99 between 21 September and 13 October 2011.
Clearcast endorsed Currys and PC World's response.
The ASA noted that the complainant believed that a typical high street price for the camera was £49. We also noted, however, that the pricing information Currys and PC World had supplied showed that the camera had been priced at £99 at Currys and PC World in the period immediately before the ad ran and at £74.99 (Argos) and £99.95 (Jessops) in a similar period. We considered that, in providing that information, Currys and PC World had shown that the price they had previously charged for the camera was in line with or similar to the price at which the product had generally been sold. Because of that, we concluded that the "better than half price" claim was not misleading.
We investigated the ad under BCAP code rules 3.1 and 3.2 (Misleading advertising), 3.18 (Prices) and 3.40 (Price comparisons) but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.