An online pop-up survey conducted by Dandybids, offered consumers free gifts upon completion of the survey. At the end of the process text stated, "Thank you for completing the survey! I have selected the following gifts which you can have. Please choose (1) gift for completing my survey! If you are not interested in any of these gifts, get it anyways [sic] since it's free. You can always sell them to make a nice profit, because they're all in high demand. =)".
A list of five "free gifts" were shown, including a Samsung Galaxy with text that stated "Regular Price: £99.99 Your Price: £0.00 Shipping: £2.00". To claim the Samsung Galaxy, consumers were required to click on the "Select This Gift" bar, which led to the product page that included text that stated, "This is what you get: Free Samsung Galaxy Y 1 day free* Dandybids Platinum membership … * You only have to pay delivery fee of £2.00". To claim their choice, consumers had to provide their email address and click on a tick box with text that stated, "I accept the Terms and Conditions …" which could be accessed via the link provided.
The complainant challenged whether the promotion was misleading, because it did not make sufficiently clear that the free prize was conditional upon consumers agreeing to subscribe to www.dandybids.com as paying members.
Flamingo Intervest Ltd t/a Dandybids did not respond to the ASA's enquiries.
The ASA was concerned by Dandybids' lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.7 (Unreasonably delay). We reminded them of their responsibility to respond promptly to our enquiries and we told them to do so in future.
We noted that the ad offered consumers a free gift after having completed a survey and included text that stated "If you are not interested in any of these gifts, get it anyways [sic] since it's free".
It was clear that consumers would have to pay the shipping fee in order to receive their free prize. However, we noted that the ad did not make sufficiently clear that the free prize was also conditional upon consumers agreeing to subscribe to www.dandybids.com as paying members, which we considered would be a significant condition to the offer. Therefore, we concluded the ad was misleading.
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), 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 3.10 3.10 Qualifications must be presented clearly.
CAP has published a Help Note on Claims that Require Qualification. (Qualification) and 3.23 3.23 Marketing communications must make clear the extent of the commitment the consumer must make to take advantage of a "free" offer. (Free).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Flamingo Intervest Ltd t/a Dandybids that their future advertising must make all significant conditions of their "free prize" offers sufficiently clear.