An e-mail, from Optical Express, stated "Win FREE laser eye surgery in April. Imagine being able to forget about your glasses when you go on holiday, take a dip in the sea without worrying about your contact lenses, or simply wear the sunglasses you really want. Laser eye surgery could change your life ... many said it was one of the best decisions that they have made in their life. Why not make it yours! Click here to WIN".
The complainant challenged whether the offer of laser eye surgery in a prize draw was irresponsible.
Optical Express Westfield Ltd's response was provided by their legal representatives, Harper Macleod. They stated that, in order to enter the draw, entrants had to click a hyperlink within the body of the e-mail, which led them to a landing page, which provided further information and the terms and conditions. They considered the terms, and all other information which might affect a consumer's decision to take part in the promotion, were clear and easily accessible. They stated there was no charge for entry and participation was not dependent on the purchase of tickets or any other form of transaction, and that entrants had to be over 18. They said there was a monthly draw and it was made clear in the terms that prizes had to be claimed within 28 days of notification and that the prize was non-transferable.
They said the winning entrant was required to attend a clinical consultation to assess suitability for laser eye surgery and not all winners would be deemed suitable. They said that winners were not obliged to undergo the surgery and had an opportunity to decline the prize, both before and after the initial clinical consultation, and before and after assessment and examination by the ophthalmic surgeon. They pointed out that the terms clearly set out that only those who were suitable for the surgery would undergo a laser refractive eye surgery procedure and stated that the criteria for suitability was wholly clinical and no distinction was made between patients attending for clinical consultation as prize winners or by other routes.
They stated that, for the overwhelming majority of patients, the results were excellent with minimal or no complications.
The ASA considered that the prize draw was likely to be of interest to people interested in eye laser surgery and who believed the surgery might benefit them. We noted there was no charge or financial commitment required to take part in the competition or to receive the surgery and the promotion was only available to those who were 18 years or over. We understood that the strict consultation process was not relaxed because the patient had won the treatment as a prize and noted a prize winner would only receive treatment if, after consultation, they were deemed to be suitable and still wished to go ahead with the procedure. We therefore concluded that the offer of laser eye surgery in that prize draw was not irresponsible.
We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 1.3 1.3 Marketing communications must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society. (Responsible advertising), but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.