Summary of Council decision:
Two issues were investigated, both of which were Upheld.
Two ads on an online florist, www.eflorist.co.uk:
a. The ad seen in March 2017, for a Moonlight bouquet, featured text below stating "Available for delivery tomorrow".
b. The ad seen in May 2017, for a Seasonal bouquet, featured an image of the product.
1. One complainant, who ordered the Moonlight bouquet but did not receive it the next day, challenged whether the "Available for delivery tomorrow" claim in ad (a) was misleading.
2. Another complainant, who ordered the Seasonal bouquet but received a different arrangement of flowers to the one shown in the image, challenged whether ad (b) was misleading.
1. EuroFlorist Europe BV t/a eFlorist explained that the item in question was sent via Royal Mail by First Class. They said they stopped taking orders for items that were going to be sent by Royal Mail by 3 pm (Monday to Friday) and they then dispatched them at 4.30 pm. They understood they should arrive the next day. They pointed out that they stated on their website that they could not guarantee next day delivery for those items and that delivery could take one to two working days, but they envisaged that those items would arrive the next day. They believed no delivery provider could 100% guarantee next-day delivery because of external factors outside their control such as an item being lost or damaged or the customer not being in.
2. eFlorist said that due to regional style and seasonality, international orders could vary. With that in mind, beneath the bouquet image the website stated: “The USA has its own unique style of floristry and product availability will vary to that shown. Our florists will however endeavour to ensure substituted flowers are of a similar quality and value to those illustrated.”
eFlorist explained that, despite the product in question being to the correct value, the florist created a completely different bouquet to the online imagery, not even in keeping with the colour scheme. They confirmed that they had amended the product by renaming it and giving it a more appropriate image to better manage consumer expectations, and that they would review their procedures to ensure a similar mistake was not made in future.
The ASA considered that consumers were likely to interpret the claim “available for delivery tomorrow” to mean that the item would be delivered the next day, barring exceptional or unforeseen circumstances outside eFlorist’s control. We noted there was text on the website which stated “Next day delivery available for orders received before 3pm Monday - Friday. Delivery within 1-2 working days from chosen date. Please note we cannot guarantee delivery dates or times for this service. If the delivery date is critical please choose a florist delivered product”. However, that text appeared on a separate web page and was one click away from the initial ad which contained the claim. In any case, we considered it contradicted rather than qualified the claim “available for delivery tomorrow”, because it indicated that even under normal circumstances there would be occasions when the product was not delivered the next day. We understood that whilst Royal Mail aimed to deliver 93% of items sent by First Class by the next working day, it was not exceptional for items not to be delivered until the day following. For that reason, we concluded that the claim was misleading.
Ad (a) breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
Marketing communications must state significant limitations and qualifications. Qualifications may clarify but must not contradict the claims that they qualify.
Qualifications must be presented clearly.
CAP has published a Help Note on Claims that Require Qualification. (Qualification).
We noted that the product page included an image of the bouquet and that, whilst it did not contain any further information regarding the flowers that would compose the bouquet, the flowers featured in the image were clearly discernible and included white roses, lilies and carnations. We accepted that the qualifying text made clear that the product received might differ to some extent from the image shown, but we considered that consumers would still expect the image to be an accurate representation of the product they would receive in terms of volume, and the colours and types of flowers included.
We understood that the bouquet received did not include any of the flowers shown prominently in the image (white roses, lilies and carnations) and that the overall colour scheme was completely different to that depicted in the ad. Because of that, we considered that the image was not an accurate representation of the advertised product and concluded that it was misleading.
Ad (b) breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 3.1 3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. (Misleading advertising).
The ads must not appear again in their current form. We told eFlorist not to claim their products were “available for delivery tomorrow” if that was not the case (except in unforeseen circumstances). We also told them to ensure that the images of their bouquets were representative of the product consumers would actually receive.