A website for ASOS, www.asos.com, stated "Game faces on, it's Black Friday Weekend! 20% off everything! Enter promo code CYBER at checkout".
The complainant, who understood that some items were more expensive during the promotion than they had been the day before it ran, challenged whether the savings claim was misleading and could be substantiated.
Asos.com Ltd stated that prior to the Black Friday promotion they had been running other short-term 'mark down' promotions where the prices of some items were listed as reduced for a short period of time (the longest discount being 5 days). Following these separate promotions, and in time for the Black Friday event that started on 26 November, the affected items had returned to their higher, established prices on 25 November. The Black Friday event had then started at 7am on 26 November, after the previous promotions had ended, offering 20% off all products with the use of a discount code. Asos.com provided pricing history for the products, showing the periods during which the products had been available at their original and promotional prices. Five of the items the complainant had tried to buy had been subject to these promotions and therefore appeared at a higher price during the Black Friday event (prior to applying the discount code) that they had the day before, and the remaining two (which had not been in the mark down promotions) had been offered at the same price before and during the Black Friday event.
The ad stated "20% off everything" on use of a discount code, and we considered that consumers would understand this to mean that they could achieve a discount of 20% on every item's current selling price when the code was used at the checkout stage. We also considered that consumers would expect the current prices to represent the usual selling prices of the products (or lower) and that prices would not have been artificially raised in order to mitigate the offered discount. We therefore expected to see evidence that the selling prices offered by Asos.com during the Black Friday event were the usual selling price for the items (or lower). The complainant had purchased several items on 25 November and, on recreating this order once the Black Friday promotion had started on 26 November, found that the prices of five of these items had risen. As such, although a 20% discount was available on the order, it was applicable to higher prices than previously.
We understood that the items in question had previously been part of separate promotions operating just prior to the Black Friday event and that they had been purchased while these promotions were being applied to those particular items. The pricing history showed that four of the items had been offered for sale at a promotional price for one day prior to the Black Friday sale, returning to their higher prices during 25 November. All the items had been available at the higher price for several weeks prior to the promotion. One other item had been discounted for two periods of four days over the course of a fortnight as a result of two separate promotions, and had returned to its higher price during 25 November. The item had been available at its higher price between each promotional period and for several weeks prior to the first discount. Although we noted that the prices had been lower immediately before the Black Friday event, the separate promotions were very brief and the items had otherwise been sold at the higher price for significant periods of time prior to the short-term discounts. We therefore considered that these higher prices were the usual selling prices for the items, from which a genuine saving could be made by using the 20% discount code, and that it was therefore reasonable for the items to return to these prices without rendering the claim "20% off everything" misleading. We therefore concluded that the ad did not breach the Code.
We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. (Misleading advertising), 3.7 3.7 Before distributing or submitting a marketing communication for publication, marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove claims that consumers are likely to regard as objective and that are capable of objective substantiation. The ASA may regard claims as misleading in the absence of adequate substantiation. (Substantiation) and 3.17 3.17 Price statements must not mislead by omission, undue emphasis or distortion. They must relate to the product featured in the marketing communication. (Prices), but did not find it in breach.
No further action required.