As well as advertising their products in the best possible light, marketers often want to highlight their delivery services, especially when they offer something that is likely to be particularly attractive to consumers who may want their items quickly, delivered at a low price, or delivered to a location which other companies may not go to. Here are some tips of when and how to include some geographical exclusions, conditions or restrictions you may have...

Ads should not make incorrect absolute delivery claims

The ASA considers it is reasonable for UK consumers to expect a definitive claim about “UK delivery” to apply to them wherever they live, even if they are located in a remote village in Scotland or one of the Channel Islands. So, if there are delivery restrictions or exclusions then these need to be made clear from the outset. For example, the ASA considered a TV ad for a furniture company which featured the voice-over “Great brands, anywhere you can get online”. In that case the ASA upheld the complaint because there were in fact size/weight limitations on deliveries to some areas of the UK including the ShetlandIslands and non-mainland addresses.

Qualifications about delivery should not contradict the main claim

Sometimes ads include qualifying information about specific restrictions or conditions that relate to some geographic locations. However, care needs to be taken to avoid potentially contradicting absolute headline claims about “UK Delivery” which can lead to contradiction and confusion. In one instance the ASA upheld a complaint about the website claim “Free UK delivery on all orders” because text elsewhere on the site indicated that deliveries to anywhere outside mainland UK were not included in the offer and would incur a delivery charge. Therefore, if there are restrictions on availability of a free delivery offer, it is it best to avoid an absolute claim and instead make clear from the outset the limitations of the delivery in question.

Other things to consider

Important information about delivery is not limited to geographical restrictions, because marketers who sell items exclusively or predominantly through the internet should also include the delivery charge when quoting prices for the goods they offer. More information is available through CAP Advice on Compulsory costs and charges: Delivery charges.

By Janet Newell, Copy Advice Executive

Janet studied Communication Processes at the University of Humberside. She worked as a Case Officer for the premium rate regulator PhonepayPlus for nine years and joined the Copy Advice team in 2015 after spending six years working for the ASA’s Investigations Department.

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