Background

Misleading advertising: SportsDirect.com Retail Ltd breaks the UK advertising rules for making misleading claims about their online pricing claims on sportsdirect.com. 

The ASA investigated whether price claims on the sportsdirect.com website, for the crossed out higher price and the adjacent lower actual price claim, for a pair of boots were misleading.

The ASA ruled that without further qualification consumers would understand the crossed out price of £84.99 was the price at which the boots were usually sold by Sports Direct. Sports Direct said it was meant to represent the Recommended Retail Price (RRP) of the product. However, given how consumers would interpret the claim the ASA expected to see evidence from Sports Direct to demonstrate that the product had been sold at the crossed out price of £84.99. Because the ASA saw no evidence to demonstrate this, they concluded that the ad was misleading on that issue.

The ASA also asked for evidence that the product was sold for the lower actual price of £37. It transpired that consumers could neither purchase them online for £37 as a delivery payment was required, including for collection in store, nor could they purchase the boots in store for the price of £37. The ASA considered that consumers would be aware that Sports Direct had a website and physical stores where products could be purchased and in the absence of information to alert a consumer to the fact that the price was an online-only price, along with the fact that a consumer could not obtain the boots for £37, considered the ad misleading on that second issue, also.

Sports Direct has since added a qualification “Our online prices may not be the same as the prices available in our stores” at the top of each general category product pages, but the individual product pages remain unchanged since the ASA ruling.

Given the ad has not been amended to comply with the ruling and despite repeated requests from the CAP Compliance team to amend its advertising, Sports Direct continues to make misleading claims on its www.sportsdirect.com website.

Due to Sports Direct’s continued non-compliance and disregard for the CAP Code, the CAP Compliance team took the decision to place its company details on this section of the ASA website on 19 December 2018. These details shall remain in place until Sports Direct has amended the misleading claims from www.sportsdirect.com to ensure compliance with the CAP Code.  


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