A promotion, seen on www.groupon.com, offered a mobile phone, accessory kit and contract. The ad stated "Samsung Galaxy S4 for £19 on 24-Month Contract (£29/Month) With 1GB Data, Unlimited Minutes and Texts (Save £170.99*) ...". Under the title "Highlights", text stated "Samsung Galaxy S4 with 5*full HD screen ... Contract £29 a month with 1GB data, unlimited texts and minutes 24 months with Vodafone". Text in the "Fine Print" stated "*Saving based on original values of £139.99 for handset; £49.99 for accessory kit".
One complainant challenged whether the savings claim was misleading and could be substantiated.
MyCityDeal Ltd t/a Groupon explained that the savings claim was based on a comparison with a specific package offered by Vodafone whereby a consumer paid £139.99 for the phone, and £49.99 for the accessory pack. They highlighted that the deal was based on that specific package, on the tariff outlined in the ad, from a particular merchant. They also provided a number of invoices, from before the deal was published, which showed that the phone and accessory pack, on the promoted tariff, cost £189.98 when purchased from the merchant.
The ASA noted that the deal was titled "Samsung Galaxy S4 for £19 on 24-Month Contract (£29/Month) With 1GB Data, Unlimited Minutes and Texts (Save £170.99*)" and that the star led to further text in the "Fine Print" which stated "Saving based on original values of £139.99 for handset; £49.99 for accessory kit". We also noted that the merchant's name appeared throughout the ad, and there were several links leading to the company's website. We therefore considered that most consumers reading the ad would understand that the deal, and the savings claim, related to a particular package offered by the specific merchant named in the ad, and that if they bought the package directly from the merchant there would be an initial cost of £189.98. We noted the invoices that Groupon had provided and considered that they showed that the package had been sold for £189.98 by the merchant prior to the Groupon deal being published.
Because we considered that most consumers would understand the basis of the savings claim, and Groupon had provided evidence to confirm the price at which the package was sold prior to the deal going live, 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
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), 3.7 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), 3.17 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), 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.