ASA Adjudication on RedeemFreeGifts.com
11 July 2012
Internet (sales promotion)
Number of complaints:
A banner ad (a) and a Multi Purpose Unit (MPU) ad (b) for www.RedeemFreeGifts.com both stated that the complainants had won a prize.
(a) The banner ad stated "New Message Congratulations!! You have won todays [sic] contest in Covent Garden ... Click Here to claim your prize of a: Apple iPhone 4S! ... RedeemFreeGifts.com".
(b) The MPU ad informed the recipient that they had won an "Apple iPad!" with small print stating "participation required".
On click through, both complainants were presented with text "How to claim: Please select a prize, enter your email address and fill out your shipping details." Small print then stated "RedeemFreeGifts.com is an independent rewards program and not associated with any of the above listed merchants or brands. The above listed merchants or brands in no way endorse or sponsor RedeemFreeGifts.com's offer and are not liable for any alleged or actual claims related to this offer ... RedeemFreeGifts.com is solely responsible for all Gift [sic] fulfilment. In order to receive your gift you must ... (2) complete the rewards bonus survey (3) complete a total of 13 Reward Offers (payment may be required) as stated in the Terms & Conditions ...".
The complainants challenged whether the ads were misleading as the Apple iPhone or iPad had not been won in a contest and in order to redeem the product a number of additional steps were necessary, such as participating in a survey and making several purchases.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
RedeemFreeGifts.com said the banner ads, which displayed the promotion, were not published by them. They said they worked with a network of publishers in order to obtain traffic to the RedeemFreeGifts.com website. They assured the ASA that they would look further into the matter.
The ASA asked RedeemFreeGifts.com to provide clarification on the relationship, contractual or otherwise, between them and the publisher of the ads. RedeemFreeGifts.com did not respond to our request.
We noted that RedeemFreeGifts.com claimed they were not responsible for the banner ads. However, we understood that affiliates were normally paid to promote an advertiser's products and considered that, in those circumstances, the advertiser was responsible for ensuring the content of the marketing complied with the CAP Code.
We noted that the MPU stated "participation required" but the banner ad did not. The banner and MPU also omitted text telling consumers that Terms & Conditions applied. Because the advertiser did not respond to our request for further information and because the ads gave the impression that consumers could claim a product with little other participation and did not make sufficiently clear that they would potentially incur costs, we concluded that the promotion was misleading.
The promotion breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1, 3.3 (Misleading advertising), 8.19, 8.21 and 8.21.1 (Sales promotions).
The ad must not appear again in its current form.