Headline text on the "Trade In" page of www.game.co.uk stated "We Won't Be Beaten on Trade-ins! We'll beat any offer by £1!*". Further text stated "*Terms and Conditions: GAME stores will beat any trade-in price offered to the general public by a local competitor by £1 within a one mile radius and within a 24 hour period. This excludes trade in prices offered via email or online. Proof must be provided from a local competitor. Trade-In offers are open to members of the public only and GAME reserves the right to refuse any offer to anyone believed to be representing a trade buyer. The trade-in price match cannot be used in conjunction with any other trade-in offer. The Managers Decision is final".
Three complainants challenged whether the claim "We Won't Be Beaten on Trade-ins! We'll best any offer by £1!*" was misleading and could be substantiated, because they reported that when they attempted to take advantage of the offer they were refused as the trade-in prices offered by competitors were considered too low for GAME to make a sufficient profit.
Game Retail Ltd t/a as Game.co.uk (Game) were concerned that the complainants were unable to take advantage of their "We Won't Be Beaten" (WWBB) offer. They stated, however, that the offer had been running for almost two years, without complaint, and that their records showed a very high number of customers had taken advantage of it. They also provided data which showed that a significant number of their "WWBB" transactions in May to July 2013 represented cases where the offer had been honoured when stores made little or no profit, or a loss, from the transaction.
Game said they were confident that the complainants' experiences were isolated incidents within specific stores. They explained that in response to those store discrepancies they had communicated to all stores the importance of following their brand promises to Game customers. They said that message had been reinforced in verbal communication to all regional managers, and via a written statement to all stores stressing the importance of honouring the offer.
The ASA noted that the three complainants had given accounts of being refused the WWBB offer, some in multiple Game stores, on the grounds that the stores would not make a sufficient profit from the transaction to make it viable. We noted from the evidence provided, however, that Game had demonstrated that on several thousand occasions stores had honoured the WWBB offer, even when it resulted in a very low profit, or a loss for the store. We therefore considered that the refusals to honour the offer that the complainants had encountered were likely to have been isolated events which were not representative of Game's commitment to, and application of, the offer more widely. Because Game had provided evidence which showed a number of cases where Game had honoured the offer even when they made little or no profit, or made a loss, we considered the claim was not misleading and was not in breach of the Code.
We investigated the claim under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. (Misleading advertising), 3.7 3.7 Before distributing or submitting a marketing communication for publication, marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove claims that consumers are likely to regard as objective and that are capable of objective substantiation. The ASA may regard claims as misleading in the absence of adequate substantiation. (Substantiation) and 3.9 3.9 Marketing communications must state significant limitations and qualifications. Qualifications may clarify but must not contradict the claims that they qualify. (Qualification), but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.