The website www.noaandnani.co.uk, a furniture retailer, seen on 8 September 2015, included the claim “FREE UK DELIVERY ON ALL ORDERS”.
The complainant, who discovered during the ordering process that delivery to Northern Ireland attracted a £40 charge, challenged whether the claim was misleading.
Noa and Nani Ltd did not provide a substantive response to the ASA’s enquiries.
The ASA was concerned by Noa and Nani’s lack of substantive response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.7 1.7 Any unreasonable delay in responding to the ASA's enquiries will normally be considered a breach of the Code. (Unreasonable delay). We reminded them of their responsibility to respond promptly to our enquiries and we told them to do so in future.
We considered consumers would understand from the claim that free delivery was available to UK addresses without exception, whereas we understood that was not the case. Text on a ‘delivery and returns’ page stated “We currently deliver to all mainland UK , [sic] if you live in N.Ireland [sic], Islands and Islands [sic] or Europe just drop us a message and we will be able to arrange the delivery for you”. However, we considered that even if consumers saw that qualification, it was not sufficient to counteract the misleading impression given by the claim “FREE UK DELIVERY ON ALL ORDERS”, which was absolute and was therefore contradicted by the introduction of a distinction between mainland Britain and Northern Ireland. Because the ad claimed UK delivery was free for all orders, but we understood that was available to mainland Britain only, we concluded that it 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 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).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Noa and Nani Ltd to ensure future ads did not state or imply that delivery was free in all instances, or for all UK addresses, if that was not the case. We referred the matter to CAP’s Compliance team.