Ad description

The secondary ticketing website www.getmein.com, seen on 26 July 2017. The web page to select tickets for an event listed the different tickets available plus their prices. In one example, text stated "£48.39 per ticket*”. Below the range of tickets, text stated "Prices may vary from face value and exclude order & delivery fees [hyperlink] (applicable per transaction). All tickets are listed by sellers at prices they set". The hyperlink for the “order & delivery fees” text led to a different web page titled “About GET ME IN! Fees”. Text on that page stated “To keep things simple, all our fees are calculated on a per order basis, we don’t know how many tickets you want to buy which obviously affects the total cost of your order. We’ve provided a calculator below that allows you to work out what order fee will apply” and featured a calculator for customers to calculate the total price of tickets with additional fees. Further text on that web page under the heading “Delivery Fees” stated “If you’re in the UK, you’ll pay £10.57 to have your tickets delivered. For electronic tickets, an administration fee of £2.40 will be required. For customers booking from overseas, delivery fees vary depending on your location. On a subsequent web page, text stated “Order Summary 2x Tickets (£48.39 each): £96.78 Processing Fee: £17.72 Delivery Fee: TBC FANGUARD Guarantee: FREE Order Total: £114.50 The original face value price of each ticket is £22.00 as indicated by the seller”.

Issue

The ASA challenged whether the presentation of the pricing information concerning the additional ticket fees and charges was misleading.

Response

GET ME IN! Ltd explained that the order fee was dependent on the total price of the tickets selected by the buyer and therefore could not be calculated prior to the buyer selecting their preferred number of tickets.

Get Me In said that their ticket prices were qualified with an asterisk which linked to a statement that referenced the existence of the order fee. They also said that detailed information about the order fee and a calculator was provided when the buyer clicked on the “order and delivery fees” hyperlink at the bottom of the page.

Get Me In said that the delivery fee was dependent on the location of the buyer and seller, the time remaining until the event (as some tickets may be eligible for last minute sales which have different delivery fees), the applicable delivery method and the tariff of the service provider offering the delivery method. As a result of those factors, they said that the fee could only be calculated once the consumer had selected the tickets they wished to purchase and entered their delivery address so that the location of the seller and buyer was known. They said that information about the existence of the delivery fee was highlighted by an asterisk next to the ticket price.

Assessment

Upheld

The ASA noted that the advertised ticket price of £48.39 did not include the order and delivery fees. The CAP Code rules on misleading advertising and pricing required that quoted prices must include non-optional taxes and fees that applied to all or most buyers to avoid misleading consumers and should also state the applicable delivery fee. The only exception was when those fees could not be calculated in advance. In those circumstances, the ad must make clear that the fees were excluded from the advertised price, and in the case of the order fee, they must also state how they were calculated. We considered that the relevant information about the additional fees needed to be made clear as soon as ticket prices were quoted before the consumer had made a decision concerning whether or not to proceed further.

Get Me In argued that the order fee (which included VAT) could not be calculated in advance because it varied based on the total price of the tickets. However, we noted that on the first page where prices were presented, the buyer could select the number that they wanted, and the “buy” button linked through to another page on which the booking fee was shown. That page also had the option to change the number of tickets, which in turn changed the order fee. We therefore considered that it was possible for the order fee to be calculated in advance of displaying the ticket prices and that the web page should present the total price of the ticket inclusive of the order fee.

Get Me In said that the process for determining the delivery fees was dependent on a number of factors, including the locations of the buyer and seller. However, we noted that UK postal delivery, international postal delivery and e-tickets each had one standard price. We considered that because the website was a UK website and primarily offered tickets for UK events, most buyers would be from the UK. Furthermore, the other factors that affected the delivery price – the location of the seller and the ticket type – were known to Get Me In prior to the buyer providing their personal details. We therefore considered that the UK delivery fee could be calculated in advance, and the ad should have stated the applicable UK delivery charge alongside the ticket price.

Notwithstanding the above, we considered that the asterisked text at the bottom of the web page which stated that the order fee and delivery charge were excluded from the headline price was not sufficiently prominent as consumers had to scroll down to view it, such that it was likely to be overlooked by consumers. It also did not explain how the order fee had been calculated. Therefore, even if the fees could not have been calculated in advance, the ad would have breached the Code because the ad did not make clear that they were excluded from the ticket price, or explain how the order fee had been calculated.

Because the ad did not make clear the total ticket price including the order fee, and did not make clear the applicable delivery fee, we concluded that the ad was misleading.

The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules  3.1 3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.    3.3 3.3 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),  3.18 3.18 Quoted prices must include non-optional taxes, duties, fees and charges that apply to all or most buyers. However, VAT-exclusive prices may be given if all those to whom the price claim is clearly addressed pay no VAT or can recover VAT.  Such VAT-exclusive prices must be accompanied by a prominent statement of the amount or rate of VAT payable.   and 3.20 (Prices).

Action

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Get Me In! Ltd to ensure they made clear the total ticket price including the order fee (inclusive of VAT) and made clear the applicable UK delivery fee as soon as ticket prices were quoted.

CAP Code (Edition 12)

3.1     3.17     3.18     3.19     3.3    


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