Three emails for Groupon:
a. The first email, seen on 21 September 2017, included the text “Fitbit Smart Fitness Watch £44.99 £39.97 View Deal”. The price £44.99 was crossed out. The deal page linked to from the ad included the text “Fitbit Smart Watch With Free Delivery From £86.99”.
b. The second email, seen on 22 September 2017, included the same deal as in ad (a).
c. The third email, seen on 6 October 2017, included the same deal as in ad (a).
The complainant, who understood that the Fitbit was no longer available for £39.97, challenged the availability of the Fitbit.
Groupon Goods Global Gmbh t/a Groupon said that the deal had originally been offered in June and that the Fitbits which were available for £39.97 had sold out during that promotional period. They explained that the email templates they used for sending marketing emails were coded to ensure that the lowest available price promotion of an item was included. They explained that in this instance one of the email templates used had coding that was no longer correct. This had caused the lowest priced promotion to appear in the September and October emails even though it had sold out. They said they were investigating to find the error in their email templates and would fix it to ensure that any deal that was sold out would not be promoted in their marketing emails.
The CAP Code required that promoters are responsible for all aspects and all stages of their promotions. The ASA noted that Groupon relied on an automated system to select products to feature in their email promotions and that the inclusion of those products had not been reviewed by a member of their staff. As Groupon had not provided evidence to demonstrate that they had made a reasonable effort to ensure that they avoided causing consumers unnecessary disappointment, we concluded that the ad was in breach of the Code.
The ad breached CAP Code Edition 12 rules 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. (Promotional marketing).
The ad must not appear again its current form. We told Groupon to avoid causing consumers unnecessary disappointment in the administration of future promotions.