A website for Candy Coat, www.lovecandycoat.com, a nail polish company, seen in January 2019, featured a section on a customer’s logged-in account titled “Ways to earn”, with an instruction to “Place an order”, followed by the claim “1 Gumball for every £1 spent”.
The complainant, who had received fewer Gumball points than the amount she had spent on Candy Coat purchases, excluding postage, on six occasions, challenged whether the promotion had been administered fairly.
Candy Coat Ltd said they did not consider that their promotion had been administered unfairly. They said that one Gumball was awarded to customers for every £1 they spent, minus shipping and tax, and that this was made clear in their FAQs. However, customers sometimes duplicated actions on social media which also gained them extra Gumball points. They said that when this was recognised, Gumball points would be deducted from the customer’s account. They maintained that the complainant had been unable to redeem Gumball points because they had duplicated actions on social media. They said that information regarding their duplication process was made clear in their FAQs.
Candy Coat said that they used a third-party app for their Gumball rewards programme that was run by another company and that they should not be held responsible. They said that the third-party app had been set up so that where duplication had been detected, the rewards programme would usually not include the Gumballs, as opposed to adding them on and subsequently removing them. They said that they would consult their tech team for further information about how their Gumball rewards programme worked, but did not provide any further information.
The ASA noted that the claim “1 Gumball for every £1 spent” was targeted specifically at customers who were logged into their Candy Coat account. We therefore considered that the claim would be understood by consumers to mean that they could obtain Gumballs by purchasing Candy Coat’s products through their Candy Coat account.
We noted that the FAQs section on Candy Coat’s website stated that customers could also earn Gumball points for following Candy Coat on social media, writing reviews and referring friends, and that where social media actions had been duplicated, the corresponding duplicate points were removed. The complainant maintained they had earned their Gumball points making purchases while logged into their Candy Coat account and where they had acquired points through actions on social media, they had only shared each action once. They provided screenshots showing their purchase history and the corresponding Gumballs awarded. The screenshots showed that on the six occasions complained about, they had been awarded Gumball points through purchasing products directly through their Candy Coat account but these Gumball points did not equate to one Gumball for each £1 spent. We considered that promoters should avoid disqualifying entrants for their promotion on the basis of broad terms if they did not hold clear evidence of abuse.
We provided Candy Coat with details of the complainant and screenshots of their purchase history with the corresponding Gumballs awarded and asked for an explanation for how and why they considered that the complainant had duplicated their actions on social media. However, we did not receive any documentation from Candy Coat indicating that the complainant had duplicated actions through social media, and neither did they provide any further information as to why there had been a shortfall in the complainant’s Gumball points.
We noted that Candy Coat used a third-party app for their Gumball rewards programme and we asked them to obtain an explanation and corresponding evidence from their third-party developer to demonstrate how the Gumballs were calculated. However, Candy Coat did not provide any further information or evidence. We considered that although they used a third-party app to run their Gumball rewards programme, Candy Coat was responsible for all aspects and all stages of their promotions. In the absence of sufficient explanation about the complainant’s circumstances and evidence to show how the complainant had duplicated actions on social media, we considered that Candy Coat had not conducted their Gumball rewards programme fairly and honourably with the complainant, and therefore breached the Code.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
Promoters are responsible for all aspects and all stages of their promotions.
Promoters must conduct their promotions equitably, promptly and efficiently and be seen to deal fairly and honourably with participants and potential participants. Promoters must avoid causing unnecessary disappointment.
(Promotional Marketing), rule
Promoters must ensure that their promotions are conducted under proper supervision and make adequate resources available to administer them. Promoters, agencies and intermediaries should not give consumers justifiable grounds for complaint.
(Promotional Marketing: Administration) and rules
All marketing communications or other material referring to promotions must communicate all applicable significant conditions or information where the omission of such conditions or information is likely to mislead. Significant conditions or information may, depending on the circumstances, include:
How to participate
How to participate, including significant conditions and costs, and other major factors reasonably likely to influence consumers' decision or understanding about the promotion (Significant conditions for promotions).
The claim must not appear again in its current form. We told Candy Coat Ltd to ensure that they conducted their promotions equitably, promptly and efficiently and dealt fairly with participants in future.