A website for clothing retailer Hera, www.heralondon.com, seen on 17 November 2018, featured headline text which stated “BLACK FRIDAY! GET 50% OFF EVERYTHING”. Text on a page that promoted men’s jeans stated “SALE 50% … HIGH RISE SUPER SPRAY ON SKINNY JEANS £64.99 [crossed out]” and in red coloured text, the sale price was stated as “£29.99”.
The complainant, who noted that before Black Friday the product was priced at £50.00, challenged whether the savings claim was misleading and could be substantiated.
Hera London Ltd t/a Hera said they increased their prices in the weeks prior to the Black Friday event and that they raised a higher discount on all their products so they would still be cheaper than previously with the Black Friday discount. They said that they were going to offer discounts at 20% initially, but raised it to 50%.
Hera said they understood the product being priced at £64.99 with 50% off that price was misleading, but that was caused by a mistake on the part of their web team. All clothing was discounted at 50% with the jeans priced at £59.99 and not £64.99. However, they said the customer received a bigger discount because they paid £29.99 instead of £32.49 and they did not believe the mistake caused any detriment to their customers. Hera said they made clear to the relevant team that in future all prices should reflect the correct discount.
The ASA considered that consumers were likely to understand from the ad that £64.99 was the usual selling price of the jeans at the time the ad appeared and that they could achieve a genuine saving of 50% against that price.
We noted the ad showed the price of £64.99 crossed out with the sale price of £29.99 which was greater than a 50% reduction. However, we understood that in the weeks prior to the Black Friday event, Hera increased the prices at which their products were sold.
We had not seen any evidence of the pricing history of the product and we were therefore unable to determine whether either £64.99 or £59.99 was the usual selling price of the product.
We therefore concluded that the savings claim had not been substantiated and the ad was likely to mislead.
The ad breached CAP Code 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 3.17 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 Hera London Ltd to ensure their future savings claims did not mislead by exaggerating the savings available on their products and to ensure they held evidence to substantiate savings against the usual selling price of their products.