An email, sent from Coral Interactive (Gibraltar) Ltd (Coral)on 9 April 2016, featured text that stated “WELCOME TO CORAL CONNECT BET NOW … Thanks again for joining us - here’s a quick reminder of your account information … As a new customer, you're entitled to a £20 FREE BET* to use online. All you need to do is login, place your first sports bet of £5+ and you’ll instantly receive your £20 free bet … Your Coral Connect Card grants you access to a whole range of special offers and exclusive benefits every single day …”.
At the bottom of the email further text stated “Terms and Conditions apply *Bet £5 get £20 Offer: Available to UK & Republic of Ireland residents aged 18 years or over … The qualifying bet must be made within 14 days of account registration to qualify. First sports bets placed after this duration will not qualify for this bet £5 get £20 free bet offer. Free bet token will expire 7 days after issue. For full terms click here”.
The complainant, who received the email and after placing their bet was informed that the offer had expired, challenged whether the promotion was conducted fairly.
Coral stated that prior to the Grand National; all marketing material for the advertised promotion should not have been circulated. The only sign-up bonus new customers should have received at the time the complainant received the email was for their Grand National offer, where players could claim a free £5 bet after depositing £5. However, due to an oversight by Coral’s third-party email provider, the complainant received the automated email promoting the outdated £20 free bet offer. They stated that in any case the complainant would not have been able to take advantage of the offer, since they had already signed up to the Grand National promotion and could only take advantage of one sign-up bonus as a new customer.
Coral apologised for the error and gave their assurance that their third-party provider had changed their processes to ensure that such an error would not happen again in their future promotions.
The ASA noted that the promotion had been targeted to the complainant via email and that they therefore would have expected to be able to take advantage of the free £20 bet offer as a new customer signing up to Coral’s website. However, we understood that was not the case, because the email that promoted a sign-up bonus for new customers, which had been replaced by a subsequent offer, had been sent in error. Given that the complainant was not eligible to take advantage of the free £20 bet as they had already signed up to the Grand National promotion as a new customer and therefore could not take advantage of more than one sign-up bonus, we considered that would have caused unnecessary disappointment and that Coral had not dealt fairly with the complainant. Furthermore, because the email suggested that the complainant was eligible to take up the advertised offer when that was not the case, we concluded that it was misleading.
The ad 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 8.2 8.2 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).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Coral Interactive (Gibraltar) Ltd t/a Coral to ensure that they did not circulate outdated promotions so that they avoided causing unnecessary disappointment and dealt fairly with players.