A website for Omaze, www.omaze.co.uk, seen in May 2020, promoted a raffle competition to win a house. The website home page included a link which stated “Enter Now” which led to a page titled “Choose Your Ticket Bundle”, and underneath the page featured a list where visitors could select how to enter the competition. The top option stated “Postal Entry” and included a link alongside which stated “More Info”. Underneath were options which stated “Online Entry”, and included a ticket shaped graphic which stated five options indicating how much different numbers of entries would cost. Underneath each graphic, text stated the entries were for “The Million Pound House Draw + 2,000 other prizes”, “The Early Bird Prize Draws (MINI, Tech Hamper, Tesla)”, “The £1,000 Weekly Cash Draw every week” and a link to “Buy Now”.
IssueTwo complainants challenged whether the ad was misleading because the free entry route was not explained clearly and prominently.
ResponseOmaze Inc believed the free entry route was publicised in such a way as to be likely to come to the attention of each individual who proposed to participate. They said it was placed prominently as the first entry route on the web page, above any of the paid entry routes. The width of the text box for the free entry route and the size of the font was exactly the same as those of the paid entry routes. Omaze said that they included the “price per entry” for paid for options because that price was not consistent across those options. They said this was done to help consumers make an informed decision about those options with better price per entry. Omaze said that information was not included for the postal entry option because the price per entry was always the same. They said that they did not state the postal entry route was free because it requires an entrant to pay the cost of postage, as well as for a postcard and envelope. They said that they did not want to mislead consumers into thinking that postal entry was without cost and they referred to that mode of entry as a “postal entry” to make clear that the method of submitting the entry was by post. Omaze said that information about the free entry route was explained one click away from the prominent reference to it on the entry page. They said that it had been separated from the terms and conditions to make it more prominent and easier for potential participants to understand and that it had not been hidden in the terms and conditions. Omaze said the free entry route was readily found and equitable. They said that the details for the free entry route were explained more clearly than the full terms of the paid entry routes. Omaze said that of the total number of participants who clicked on any of the entry options, 35% clicked on the link for the free entry route, with the remaining 65% divided amongst the other options. They therefore said the free entry route was one of the most popular on the web page. Omaze said that the free entry route was also understood and used by customers and they said that in the first nine weeks of their promotion which began on 14 April 2020, they received 3,969 free postal entries.
AssessmentUpheld The CAP Code stated that promotions must communicate all applicable significant conditions or information where their omission was likely to mislead. The Code cited free-entry route explanation as an example of a significant condition, and stated that any free-entry route should be explained clearly and prominently. The ASA understood that the promotion could be entered via its free-entry route by sending a postal entry. On the list where visitors could select how to enter the competition, the top option stated “Postal Entry” alongside a link which stated “More Info”. Although the option was at the top of the list, we noted that the option did not include any further information regarding the free-entry route with, for example, the cost associated with that entry method or which promotions participants would be entered into. In comparison, the “Online Entry” methods appeared significantly larger and included a ticket shaped graphic and a pink box which stated “Buy Now”. Those entry methods also included information about the cost of entry, the number of entries, the cost per entry and which promotions participants by that method would be entered into. While we acknowledged that further information about the “Postal Entry” free-entry was available one click away, we considered information about the free-entry route was not explained clearly and prominently, and therefore concluded that the ad was misleading and breached the Code. The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 8.17 8.17 All marketing communications or other material referring to promotions must communicate all applicable significant conditions or information where the omission of such conditions or information is likely to mislead. Significant conditions or information may, depending on the circumstances, include: and 8.17.2 8.17.2 Free-entry route explanation
Any free-entry route should be explained clearly and prominently (Significant conditions for promotions).
The ad must not appear again in the same form. We told Omaze Inc to ensure that free entry routes were explained clearly and prominently.