ASA Ruling on sit-up Ltd
sit-up Ltd t/a
Unit 11 Acton Park Industrial Estate
7 November 2012
Number of complaints:
Summary of Council decision:
Two issues were investigated, both of which were Upheld.
Two Teleshopping ads:
a. A teleshopping ad for a Samsung mobile phone included the claim "... go try and buy the phone on its own and you will pay hundreds of pounds".
b. A teleshopping ad for a piece of artwork included the claim "… the unique individual pieces, the one off's, sell for thousands upon thousands, millions in fact, when we are dealing with something that's 35, reproduced only 35 times, you're talking a lot of money, thousands of pounds".
One viewer challenged whether the price claims about the:
1. Samsung mobile phone; and
2. piece of artwork
were misleading and could be substantiated.
1. Sit-up TV t/a Bid TV (Bid TV) provided an eBay screenshot of a 'buy it now" ad (in which items are sold at a fixed price) for the advertised mobile phone at the price of £219 which they believed substantiated the claim.
2. They believed the presenter was not implying that these particular art pieces were worth millions of pounds and that was backed up by the fact they intended to sell the artwork at below £50. They said the implication was that throughout history, unique items had a premium value due to their exclusivity and because it was a limited edition, an owner could feel as if they were part of a small group of people.
The ASA considered that viewers would understand from the claim "… go try and buy the phone on its own and you will pay hundreds of pounds" in ad (a) that the phone was normally sold at that price. Although Bid TV provided an eBay screenshot which demonstrated intent to sell at the phone at £219, it did not demonstrate that the phone was generally sold at that price. We therefore concluded that ad (a) was misleading.
On this point ad (a) breached BCAP Code rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.9 (Substantiation) and 3.18 (Prices).
We considered that the claim "the unique individual pieces, the one off's, sell for thousands upon thousands, millions in fact ..." would be understood by viewers to be a reference to the amount of money that could be achieved from selling a one-off piece of artwork and that viewers would understand that this did not apply to this piece. However, the presenter also stated that 35 copies of the artwork existed worldwide and that 15 of them were being sold through the Bid TV service. We therefore considered the claim which stated "when we are dealing with something that's 35, reproduced only 35 times, you're talking a lot of money, thousands of pounds" would be understood by viewers to mean that each of 35 pieces of art would achieve a sale price of several thousands of pounds. Because Bid TV had not provided documentary evidence to demonstrate that this was the case, we concluded that ad (b) was misleading.
On this point ad (b) breached BCAP Code rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.9 (Substantiation) and 3.18 (Prices).
The ads should not appear again in their current form. We told Bid TV to not to make price claims without holding documentary evidence.