Two product pages on Nationwide Bathrooms.com’s own website www.nationwidebathrooms.com, seen on 24 February 2021, included pricing information.
The page for the “Silverdale Victorian Close Coupled Toilet – Old English/White” stated “Save 30% £425.00 £298.00” with the text “£425.00” crossed out, and included an image of the full toilet including pan, cistern and seat. Below the price claim, the listing included drop-down menus for consumers to select options for the cistern which increased the price. For example, by choosing an “Old English – No logo Nickel” cistern, the price increased to £543.
The product page for the “Tavistock Vitoria 500mm Cloakroom Vanity Unit” listed a price of “Save 30% £119.00 £83.00” with the price £119 crossed out. The listing included an image of a basin and vanity unit. The ad included a drop-down menu for consumers to select an option for the “Unit Finish”. All of the options selected increased the price. For example, by choosing a “Linen White” unit which was the unit featured in the main picture, the price increased to £339.07.
The complainant, who understood that the headline prices of £298 and £83 were for only part of the products described in the listings and accompanying images, challenged whether the price claims in the ad were misleading.
ResponseGalco Enterprises t/a Nationwide Bathrooms.com did not respond to the ASA’s enquiries.
The ASA was concerned by Galco Enterprises Ltd t/a Nationwide Bathrooms.com’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 response to our enquiries and told them to do so in the future.
The CAP Code required that price statements must not mislead by omission or distortion.We understood that the term “close coupled toilet” was used to describe toilets which had the cistern attached to the toilet bowl. We therefore considered that consumers would understand the claim “Save 30% £425.00 £298.00”, for the Silverdale Victorian Close Coupled Toilet, to mean that the price of £298 was for the toilet including a cistern and seat. We considered that the image, which showed a close-coupled toilet including cistern and seat, added to the impression that the product including cistern and seat was available for £298.
The listing for the “Tavistock Vitoria 500mm Cloakroom Vanity Unit” included an image of the basin and Vanity Unit, and the title of the listing referred to the unit. We therefore considered that consumers would understand that the “Tavistock Vitoria 500m Cloakroom Vanity Unit referred to both the basin and the vanity unit, and that they would be able to purchase both the basin and unit for the stated price of £83.
In both cases, the advertised price was for part of the product that appeared in the product listing title and image. In the case of the toilet, the price did not include the cistern and seat, and in the case of the vanity unit, the price only included the basin and not the vanity unit. Because we considered that consumers would understand the price to include the full product described in the product listing titles and shown in the images, we concluded that 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 advertising), and 3.17 3.17 Price statements must not mislead by omission, undue emphasis or distortion. They must relate to the product featured in the marketing communication. (Prices).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Galco Enterprises t/a Nationwide Bathrooms.com to ensure that price claims related to the product as described in product listing titles and shown in accompanying images, including by not omitting parts of the product as described and shown. We referred the matter to the CAP Compliance team.