A page on the website furniture123.co.uk, seen on 4 December 2019 and 20 December 2019, promoted a dining set with four chairs:
a. The page seen on 4 December stated, “CYBER DEAL Save £140 … £139.97”.
b. The page seen on 20 December stated, “SALE Save £130 … £149.97”.
IssueThe complainant challenged whether the savings claims were misleading.
ResponseBuy It Direct Ltd provided the pricing history for the product dating back to December 2018.
The ASA considered that consumers were likely to understand from the ads that the savings claims represented genuine savings against the usual selling price of the product at the time the ads appeared. The savings claims added to the sale price in each ad totalled £279.97. The pricing history provided showed that the product had been at the higher price of £279.97 for 241 days, up until 1 August 2019, with a significant number of units having been sold. However, it had been more than four months since that price had been charged. We therefore considered that £279.97 was not the usual selling price of the product at the time the ads appeared.
In addition, we noted from the pricing history that there had been a number of intervening prices before the price shown in ad (a) on 4 December 2019. We considered that fact was likely to be material to consumers encountering ad (b), and would be likely to affect their perceptions of the value of the offer, and whether the claimed saving was genuine. In particular, the price immediately preceding the £149.97 stated in ad (b) was the lower price of £139.97, as stated in ad (a), which was likely to be particularly material to consumers.
We therefore concluded that the ads were misleading. The ads breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. (Misleading advertising) 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).
The ads must not appear again in the same form. We told Buy It Direct Ltd to ensure that future savings claims did not misleadingly imply savings against the usual selling price of the product.