ASA Adjudication on Halfords Ltd
Icknield Street Drive
25 July 2012
Internet (sales promotion)
Number of complaints:
A web page on www.halfords.com, for the VooDoo bike range, included links within some of the product listings which were labelled "20% Off Selected VooDoo Bikes View all products in this offer". On clicking the link, users were taken to a web page, headed "20% Off Selected VooDoo Bikes", which listed a number of VooDoo bikes that were reduced in price. Each bike was marked as reduced by £100 from its "WAS" price.
The complainant challenged whether the claim "20% Off Selected VooDoo Bikes" was misleading, because some of the bikes were discounted by less than 20%.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
Halfords said the claim was not meant to imply that all VooDoo bikes were reduced by 20%, and they had purposefully used the word "Selected" to ensure that consumers would not be misled into understanding that all VooDoo bikes were reduced by 20%. The use of the word was intended to indicate that selected VooDoo bikes were reduced by 20%.
They provided a spreadsheet, which showed that five out of twelve bikes in the VooDoo range were discounted; two of those were discounted by 20% or more. They said the spreadsheet therefore showed that 16% of their adult VooDoo bikes were reduced by at least 20%, and that exceeded the guidance set out in the Department for Business Innovation and Skills Pricing Practices Guide, which was that general notices which made claims such as "half price sale" or "up to 50% off" should not be used unless the maximum reduction quoted applied to at least 10% of the range of products on offer at the commencement of the sale.
The ASA noted the spreadsheet showed that 16% of Halfords' adult VooDoo bikes had been reduced by at least 20%. However, we considered consumers would interpret the claim "20% Off Selected VooDoo Bikes View all products in this offer" to mean that, by following the link, they would be taken to a web page that listed only those "selected" VooDoo bikes which were reduced by 20%. We considered consumers who had followed that link would continue to have that interpretation when viewing the page headed "20% Off Selected VooDoo Bikes". Furthermore, we considered that consumers who viewed that page without viewing the link titled "20% Off Selected VooDoo Bikes View all products in this offer" would also interpret the claim to mean that all the bikes listed on the page would be reduced by 20%. Because not all the bikes listed on the page were discounted by 20%, we concluded the ad was misleading.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1, 3.3 (Misleading advertising) 3.7 (Substantiation) and 3.11 (Exaggeration).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Halfords not to state or imply that all products in an ad or product category were discounted by the quoted amount if that was not the case.