The website createandcraft.com, for a crafting retailer, Create and Craft, seen in December 2020, displayed a banner along the top of the page which stated “CLUB MEMBERS EVENT. Extra Savings for Club Members Only – Limited Time”. The product listing below was titled “We R Memory Keepers 2-in-1 Crafter’s Bag” beneath which was an image of the product. A box to the right of the image displayed a cartoon of a purple pass ticket and text alongside reading, “Purple Pass – Club Price for Everyone (Price Includes 10% Club Discount)”. The price “£99.89” was shown below in purple text and further black text beneath stated “£2.99 P&P”.
The complainant, representing a Facebook crafting group, who understood another Create and Craft website displayed the same product with a “was” price of £99.89 and therefore believed the “Purple Pass” price of “£99.89” did not represent a genuine saving against the usual selling price, challenged whether the ad was misleading.
Ideal Shopping Direct Ltd t/a Create and Craft explained that both the createandcraft.com website and the crafting.co.uk website were run by Ideal Shopping Direct Ltd. However, they confirmed that they were managed independently and separate in terms of offers, promotions and pricing. Create and Craft confirmed that the Purple Pass promotion was only available on the Create and Craft site.
Create and Craft explained that when crafting.co.uk set a price, they reviewed the market to establish the price the product was sold elsewhere (if it was not exclusive to their site) to ensure the pricing was accurate and that they did not inflate costs to show savings that could not be evidenced. Therefore, the “was” price of £99.89 on crafting.co.uk was in reference to the price the product was sold on createandcraft.com. Create and Craft provided sales information for both crafting.co.uk and Create and Craft and explained that they used the same product code. Create and Craft explained that the majority of the sales were at £99.89, the initial price on Create and Craft for the product, which was 10% lower than the price at which they would usually have introduced the product and they had therefore introduced it under the Purple Pass offer.
The ASA considered that consumers would understand the claim “Purple Pass – Club Price for Everyone (Price Includes 10% Club Discount)” to represent a genuine discount against Create and Craft’s usual selling price for the product. We therefore expected to see pricing history evidence that the product had been sold at the 10% higher price of £110.99. However, we understood that the product had not previously been sold by Create and Craft and £99.89 was the introductory offer price. We therefore only saw evidence that the product had been sold at £99.89. We understood the “10% Club Discount” was based on an estimated price that Create and Craft thought they would usually have used to introduce a similar product, rather than a discount based on pricing history evidence. Because we had not seen any evidence that £110.99 was the product’s usual selling price, we concluded that the savings claim had not been substantiated and was therefore 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. (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 the form complained of. We told Ideal Shopping Direct Ltd t/a Create and Craft to ensure that introductory offers were clearly marked as such and to ensure they held relevant pricing substantiation for their savings claims in the future.