Claims on www.JohnLewis.com stated "What it means" section beneath Price "We set highly competitive prices for all our products, with a dedicated team regularly checking them against other high street competitors. If we find a national high street competitor offering a better nationwide price for the same individual product, sold with the same service conditions, we'll lower our price to match in all our shops and on our website, including when a competitor is having a sale. Some high street competitors have a different nationwide shop price to their online price; in that instance we'll match whichever is the lower of the two across our shops and on our website. We also know that some high street competitors have a lower price in specific shops. Where these shops are in the local area of a John Lewis branch, we'll lower our price in that branch to match".
On the "Conditions for price matching" page, text stated "What we mean by 'High Street competitor' High street competitors trade on the same basis as us, with premises on a high street or comparable shopping destination freely open to the public in the UK mainland. They should carry a reasonable range of goods in stock for you to buy and take away, with clearly displayed prices. Their websites need to trade under the same brand and on the same basis as their high street shops. Outlets which trade on a different basis to us, such as those that operate only on the internet or through mail-order, showrooms attached to internet-only companies, collection points, auction sites, factory outlets, membership clubs, duty-free shops, market stalls or home shopping channels, are not deemed equivalent high street competitors. We also don't match competitors who are in administration or closing down".
The complainant challenged whether the ad was misleading because they believed their price match claim met the criteria, but it was rejected.
John Lewis Partnership plc said that the complainant's claim for the price match promise related to a price offered by an online retailer. They explained that, while the retailer did have a high street premise, the online store traded under a different brand from the high street shop. They pointed out that their "conditions for price matching" stated that "websites need to trade under the same brand and on the same basis as their high street shops". They explained that the complainant's application for the price match promise was rejected on that basis.
The ASA noted that the conditions to the price match promise were one click away from the ad, under an adjoining tab that was labelled "Conditions for price matching". We also noted that the information about the trading basis of competitors was under a section entitled "What we mean by 'High Street Competitor'" and that the trading brand condition was clearly outlined in the text. Because we considered the "Conditions for price matching" page, which was prominently labelled and one click away, made the relevant condition sufficiently clear, we concluded the ad was not misleading.
We investigated the ad under 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) and 3.9 3.9 Marketing communications must state significant limitations and qualifications. Qualifications may clarify but must not contradict the claims that they qualify. (Qualification), but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.