A leaflet for Photo Therapeutics, seen on 17 July 2017, for the No!No! Micro hair removal device featured a headline price statement (in red coloured text) on both the front and back pages that stated “Yours now from under £50†”. The third page of the leaflet stated “YOURS NOW FOR ONLY £49.66” and “†followed by 2 payments of £49.67” (in small print text).
Two complainants, who believed that the leaflet suggested the product was available for less than £50 on the front and back pages and that the correct price on the third page was in very small text size, challenged whether the claim “Yours now from under £50†” was misleading.
ICTV Brands UK Ltd t/a Photo Therapeutics said they did not agree that the price statements on the leaflet were misleading to the majority of consumers as almost two million inserts had been distributed and there had only been two complaints.
The ASA considered that consumers were likely to interpret from the claim on the front and back of the leaflet, “Yours now from under £50†”, that the product was available to purchase for less than £50.
We acknowledged that on the third page of the leaflet the ad stated in small print that two further payments of “49.67” were required after the initial payment. We also noted that the price statement “under £50†” on the front and back pages contained a superscripted symbol, indicating that there were terms associated with purchasing the product.
However, we considered the ad did not reflect the overall price that the consumer needed to pay to purchase the product, because the total cost of the product (£149.00), the sum of the three instalments, was not stated in any of the price statements. Furthermore, there were no qualifying statements in close proximity to or on the same page as the headline claim “under £50†” on both the front and back pages, to highlight the requirement for two further payments of “49.67”.
We also considered that consumers were most likely to see the headline price claims “under £50†”, as they were located on the front and back pages of the leaflet. However, the information about the two additional payments required was only included on an inside page (3) of the leaflet, and therefore less likely to be viewed and was, in this case, insufficiently prominent. For those reasons we concluded that the price claims in the leaflet were likely to mislead.
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), 3.9 3.9 Marketing communications must state significant limitations and qualifications. Qualifications may clarify but must not contradict the claims that they qualify. 3.10 3.10 Qualifications must be presented clearly.
CAP has published a Help Note on Claims that Require Qualification. (Qualification) 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 Photo Therapeutics that in future the total price of the product must be made clear in all price statements, including when referring to instalments, for example by stating “Total £149”.