An email from Getir, an online grocery app, received on 28 November 2022, featured the subject line “[money emoji] £20 off! [money emoji]”.
In the body of the email large text stated “£20 off when you spend £21!”. Underneath that, further text stated “Claim my £20 discount. Spend £21, get £20 off [shocked emoji]. Yup, you read that right! Shop right now to get all your essentials for a quid!”
The complainant, who immediately attempted to redeem the promotion but was told it had been paused, challenged whether the promotion had been administered fairly.
Getir UK Ltd accepted that consumers did not have sufficient information regarding the promotion to make an informed decision on whether to take part because the ad did not communicate that the promotion was not available at all times.
They explained that the email had been prepared in-house by their UK marketing team but that their promotional team, who were based in Turkey, were in charge of implementing promotions. They said that there had been a miscommunication about the mechanics of the promotion between the two teams; specifically, the marketing team understood the promotion was available to all customers at all times, but in actuality, the promotion was only available in certain locations. They re-iterated that the marketing and legal teams were not aware of that, and therefore, did not include information in their marketing materials stating that the availability of the promotion would be dependent on location and availability.
Getir said that both teams realised the error on the 29 November when they were unable to meet the demand for the promotion at peak rush hour. They said that they had previously advertised similar high-value promotions. However, they received an unexpected demand that exceeded their operational limits which they understood was caused by more customers ordering drinks and snacks in the festive season and the World Cup. They advised the customer service team of the situation in case any customer contacted them regarding the promotional code. They also placed a banner on the Getir app to alert consumers that due to high demand the promotion was unavailable.
Getir said that they mitigated the impact of suspending the promotion by placing a push notification on the app the next day informing their customers that they could still take part in the promotion and that it was available all week to certain customers. They said that notification also made clear that customers could check the app to see if it was available. They considered that the reward was extremely attractive, and because of that, customers would not mind checking the app in order to receive such a high discount.
Getir confirmed that the ad had not and would not appear again in the form complained of and that several processes had since been implemented to ensure that similar disappointment did not occur again. They highlighted that the marketing and growth teams were now aligned on the mechanisms behind all promotions, and they ensured emails were indicative of promotions that were available. They also emphasised that their legal team reviewed all promotional materials to ensure that they were compliant with the CAP Code, and that details of all promotions were made clear to consumers, including giving sufficient prominence to significant terms within the main body of emails.
The CAP Code stated that promoters must conduct their promotions equitably, promptly and efficiently and be seen to deal fairly and honourably with participants and potential participants. The Code stated that promoters must avoid causing unnecessary disappointment and that phrases such as “subject to availability” did not relieve promoters of their obligation to do everything reasonable to avoid disappointing participants.
The ASA understood that the promotion enabled consumers to receive a £20 discount on their shopping bill, meaning they could receive £21 worth of grocery shopping by spending just one pound. Because using the promotion resulted in a heavily discounted grocery shop, and it appeared as if all those who received the email were eligible, we considered that the promotion was likely to receive a high level of interest. Furthermore, we noted that the ad did not include any eligibility criteria; specifically, it did not feature any information which indicated that the promotion was dependent upon a consumer’s location. We therefore considered that consumers would expect, regardless of their location, that the promotion was available to everyone.
We understood that the availability of the promotion fluctuated depending on location. Because the ad implied that the promotion was available to all, no matter the circumstances, we considered that the promotion had not been administered fairly.
We also understood that Getir did not honour the promotion in cases where participants had unsuccessfully attempted to redeem the discount. The complainant had immediately attempted to redeem the promotion but was unable to do so, and after contacting Getir’s customer service team about the matter, was told that Getir had the right to cancel any promotion. We also understood that the complainant later attempted to redeem the promotion again but remained unsuccessful. We considered the mechanics of the promotion, and that by its nature, a discount code was scalable and did not rely on providing a product with finite availability. For that reason, we considered it was reasonable to expect Getir to have extended the promotion to those who had received the email, as the marketing team had originally intended, to avoid disappointing participants. Because they did not honour the promotion, we considered that Getir had not taken all reasonable steps to avoid disappointing participants.
We concluded that the promotion had not been administered fairly and that it was likely to have caused participants unnecessary disappointment.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 8.1 and 8.2 (Promotional Marketing) 8.9, 8.10 and 8.11 (Availability).
We told Getir UK Ltd to ensure that their promotions were administered fairly and to ensure that they did not cause unnecessary disappointment among participants.