A 15-minute long teleshopping presentation for Velform Cover beauty products, seen on the Best Direct television channel on 4 July 2021, featured a number of women describing the products and demonstrating their use.
Halfway through the ad, super-imposed text appeared which stated “30 Day Money-back Guarantee (Terms and Conditions Apply)”. Directly after that, a voice-over included, “Plus it comes with a 30 day money back guarantee, so don’t wait, go online or call to try Velform Cover today.” The same images and text were repeated at the end of the ad
IssueThe complainant challenged whether the “30 day money back guarantee” misleadingly implied that customers would be refunded if they were not happy with the product.
ResponseBest Direct (International) Ltd t/a Best Direct explained that their 30-Day Money Back Guarantee covered all products, including those that were unboxed, opened or unsealed, except for products where this could not be applied due to hygiene reasons or if they were perishable goods such as cosmetic products. The Velform Cover product was therefore only covered by the Guarantee if it was returned unopened.They said the ad did not suggest that the “30 Day Money-back Guarantee” allowed consumers to try the product and then return it. The ad included on-screen text which stated “Terms and conditions apply” and the Best Direct website address was included throughout the ad, where viewers would be able to find details of those terms and conditions, which clearly stated that the returns policy did not apply in the case of personal beauty products and creams.
The BCAP Code required that ads must make clear each significant limitation to an advertised guarantee (of the type that had implications for a consumer's rights). It also required that marketers supply the full terms before the consumer committed to taking up the guarantee.
The ad stated that products came with a “30 Day Money-back Guarantee”, including in the voice-over statement “… it comes with a 30 day money back guarantee, so don’t wait”. The ASA therefore considered that the ad emphasised the benefit of a guarantee as a feature of purchasing products from Best Direct. The ad did not clearly state any significant limitations or qualifications to the guarantee. We therefore considered that consumers would understand from the ad that they would be able to obtain their money back if they returned the advertised products within 30 days.
We understood from Best Direct’s response that consumers were able to open and use other products and be able to return them under the guarantee, but cosmetic products were excluded. We considered that the exclusion of those products was a significant limitation to the advertised guarantee, and therefore should have been made clear to consumers. Best Direct had told us that the information was contained within the terms and conditions of the guarantee, which were available on the Best Direct website. However, we considered that was not sufficient and that the significant limitation should have been made clear to consumers in the ad itself. Because it was not, we concluded that the ad was misleading.
The ad breached BCAP Code rules 3.1 and 3.2 (Misleading advertising), 3.10 (Qualification) and 3.50 (Guarantees and after-sales service).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Best Direct (International) Ltd t/a Best Direct to clearly and prominently state in their ads significant limitations to an advertised guarantee.