A promotion, seen on www.groupon.co.uk, was titled "Men's 100% Cotton Chinos in Choice of Colours from £19 (Up to 72% off)". Text under the heading "The Deal" stated " • Choice of one or two pairs • Ten colours in collection • Colours include blue, red, stone, camel, green and mushroom • Colour and size can be chosen at redemption site". Further text stated "Choose from the following options for men's cotton chinos, distributed by Samuel Windsor: • £19 for one pair (68% off) • £34 for two pairs (72% off)".
The complainant challenged whether the savings claim "Up to 72% Off" was misleading, because he understood that the products were also available at a reduced price from Samuel Windsor directly.
MyCityDeal Ltd t/a Groupon (Groupon) said the Recommended Retail Price (RRP) for the chinos was £60 and that during the deal they had been retailed at that price on www.swshoes.co.uk which was the site that consumers were directed to from the Groupon site and where they could redeem their offer voucher. They provided copies of ten sales receipts from Samuel Windsor which confirmed that the chinos had been sold for £60 for a period of 11 weeks prior to the Groupon promotion running on Monday 28 January. They considered that those receipts demonstrated that £60 was a fair, established selling price for the chinos.
Groupon said there may have been some confusion because the www.swshoes.co.uk website was owned by a company that owned a range of other brands and websites, including www.samuel-windsor.co.uk where the complainant had viewed the concurrent offer. They confirmed that the concurrent offer promoted the same chinos at a temporarily discounted price and listed the same RRP of £60. They highlighted, however, that the Groupon discount price for one pair of chinos was £19, compared to £20 or £30 (depending on colour) on the www.samuel-windsor.co.uk website. In addition, they said the Groupon offer also gave consumers the option of purchasing two pairs of chinos for £34, which the competing offer did not. They asserted that both offers were time-limited which meant the selling price would revert back to £60 once they had expired. They said both offers had started on the same day, before which the items had been sold for £60 on www.samuel-windsor.co.uk and www.swshoes.co.uk.
Groupon believed it was clear that the original selling price of the chinos had been established at £60. They did not consider that it was misleading to run concurrent offers or that doing so indicated that the original selling price had been exaggerated in any way. They did not consider that the existence of a concurrent offer invalidated the general selling price of £60.
The ASA considered that the receipts provided showed that the chinos had been previously sold at £60, and that that was an established price. We therefore considered that the savings claim of "Up to 72% off", which appeared in the ad, was genuine. We noted that for the duration of the Groupon offer, the same chinos were available at a discounted price of either £20 or £30 when purchased from www.samuel-windsor.co.uk directly. As Groupon suggested, however, we did not consider that the existence of a concurrent offer meant that Groupon's savings claim was void. As Groupon had provided sufficient evidence to substantiate the savings claim, we concluded that the claim was not misleading and not in breach of the Code.
We investigated the ad under 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), 3.11 3.11 Marketing communications must not mislead consumers by exaggerating the capability or performance of a product. (Exaggeration), 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), 3.40 3.40 Price comparisons must not mislead by falsely claiming a price advantage. Comparisons with a recommended retail prices (RRPs) are likely to mislead if the RRP differs significantly from the price at which the product or service is generally sold. (Price comparisons), 8.1 8.1 Promoters are responsible for all aspects and all stages of their promotions. 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), but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.