A box, on the website www.takethetrain.co.uk, seen on 13 October 2017 when ordering a train ticket, contained text which stated "... we'll deliver your tickets for free too!*". The asterisk was linked to text at the bottom of the screen which stated "Free delivery available via Ticket on Departure network. Fees may apply for other delivery services".
The complainant, who understood that there was no charge for ticket collection but that consumers who wished to have tickets delivered to them would always be required to pay additional postage fees, challenged whether the claim "we'll deliver your tickets for free" was misleading.
Click Travel Ltd t/a takethetrain.co.uk acknowledged receipt of the complaint but provided no substantive response to the investigation.
The ASA was concerned by takethetrain.co.uk's lack of substantive response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.7 1.7 Any unreasonable delay in responding to the ASA's enquiries will normally be considered a breach of the Code. (Unreasonable delay). We reminded them of their responsibility to provide a substantive response to our enquiries and told them to do so in future.
We considered consumers were likely to interpret the claim "we'll deliver your tickets for free" to mean there were no additional costs for standard delivery of their tickets to them at, for example, their homes or place of work. We noted that the asterisk linked to text which explained that "free delivery" meant obtaining tickets via the Ticket on Departure network. However, that required consumers to collect their tickets from the station before departure, which we considered was not in line with the expectation they were likely to have from a claim that their tickets would be "delivered" to them.
Because takethetrain.co.uk charged an additional fee for standard delivery of tickets, and because we considered the qualification misleadingly contradicted, rather than clarified, the claim, we concluded that the claim breached the Code.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
Marketing communications must not mislead the consumer by omitting material information. They must not mislead by hiding material information or presenting it in an unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or untimely manner.
Material information is information that the consumer needs to make informed decisions in relation to a product. Whether the omission or presentation of material information is likely to mislead the consumer depends on the context, the medium and, if the medium of the marketing communication is constrained by time or space, the measures that the marketer takes to make that information available to the consumer by other means. (Misleading advertising) and 3.9 3.9 Marketing communications must state significant limitations and qualifications. Qualifications may clarify but must not contradict the claims that they qualify. (Qualification).
The claim must not appear again in the form complained of. We told takethetrain.co.uk not to claim or imply that there was no additional charge for having tickets delivered if that was not the case, and to ensure that qualifying text did not misleadingly contradict claims in the main body of the ad.