A sales promotion on a discount website, viewed on 21st July 2011, stated "Vistaprint - £40 to Spend on Printing and Office Supplies. Sure, you can scroll through LinkedIn to your heart's content, but nothing says 'network with me' better than a business card. Give your good name some resonance with today's deal: pay just £10 and get £40 to spend on invitations, business cards, T-shirts, photo books, and more at Vistaprint". The terms and conditions stated "This is a one-time use coupon - not valid in conjunction with any other offer or discounts".
The complainant challenged whether the promotion was misleading as, when using the voucher, all discounted items on Vistaprint increased to their full price, so the savings were exaggerated.
LivingSocial Ltd (LivingSocial) said they did not believe the promotion was misleading. They said the qualification that the voucher could not be used with other offers or discounts was clearly stated in the terms and conditions, and all necessary information was provided for customers to make an informed choice about whether or not to purchase the coupon.
LivingSocial said they had no current plans to run this promotion again.
The ASA acknowledged that it was a common condition of promotions that they cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer, and that in such circumstances a disclaimer in the terms and conditions would be likely to be sufficient. However, we considered that the average consumer would believe a voucher advertised as "£40 to Spend" would mean they could spend that full amount against Vista's current prices, and would understand the condition "not valid in conjunction with any other offer or discounts" to refer to another promotion or offer. We considered that they would not expect discounted products to increase to their full price when using the voucher. We considered that the qualification "not valid in conjunction with any other offer or discounts" was not sufficiently clear about the terms and conditions of using the voucher. As a result, we considered that the promotion was misleading.
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) and 8.2 8.2 Promoters must conduct their promotions equitably, promptly and efficiently and be seen to deal fairly and honourably with participants and potential participants. Promoters must avoid causing unnecessary disappointment. (Sales promotions).
The promotion must not appear again in its current form.