An email for an online electronic equipment store was headed "FREE NEXT DAY DELIVERY ON ALL OF YOUR ORDERS THIS MONTH*". Text underneath stated "Offer ends on 31 October 2014 at midnight. Some products are not available for next day delivery. Location and weight restrictions apply. Excludes Paypal purchases".
The complainant challenged whether the claim "Free next day delivery on all of your orders this month" was misleading because they understood that a number of conditions and exclusions applied.
Ebuyer (UK) Ltd did not respond to the ASA's enquiries,
The ASA was concerned by Ebuyer's lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.7 (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 would understand from the headline "FREE NEXT DAY DELIVERY ON ALL OF YOUR ORDERS THIS MONTH" that free delivery applied to all orders without exception. We therefore considered the accompanying text "*Offer ends on 31 October 2014 at midnight. Some products are not available for next day delivery. Location and weight restrictions apply. Excludes PayPal purchases" and "*Free Delivery is available when you spend over £49.99 and choose the 'within 5 working days' delivery option. Please note restrictions apply to delivery, including anywhere outside UK mainland and certain postcode areas" contradicted rather than qualified the headline claim. Additionally, although further qualifying text at the bottom of the email included an asterisk, we considered that having already been presented with qualifying text at the top of the page that was linked to via an asterisk, consumers were unlikely to be aware that any further qualifications applied and were presented elsewhere. This was exacerbated by the fact those additional qualifications appeared at the bottom of the email where recipients may not have been aware of them. Finally, we considered that the minimum £49.99 spend required to qualify for the offer was a significant condition and as such, should have been included in the body copy of the ad. Because of the way in which the qualifications were presented, we concluded that the ad was likely to mislead.
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) 3.9 3.9 Marketing communications must state significant limitations and qualifications. Qualifications may clarify but must not contradict the claims that they qualify. and 3.1 3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. (Qualifications).
The ad should not appear again in its current form. We told Ebuyer (UK) Ltd to ensure future ads made clear any eligibility restrictions.