A website, www.mysale.co.uk, for the online shopping club MYSALE seen on 8 August 2018, featured a banner with the claim "Free Shipping with ourpay select". The banner linked to a page that stated "Ourpay Select - Buy Now Pay Later combined with Free Delivery". Further down the page, under the title “ourpay select” was text that read “A 12-month delivery subscription combining buy now pay later and free delivery. Select from one of the three plans at checkout”. Adjacent to this was a text box that stated "4 free deliveries...£10.00...You Save 10.00".
The complainant, who understood that consumers had to pay £10.00 for four free deliveries, challenged whether the claims to provide “free shipping” and “free delivery” were misleading.
Ozsale Pty Ltd t/a MYSALE did not respond to the ASA's enquiries.
The ASA was concerned by MYSALE’s lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of the CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.7 (Unreasonable delay). We reminded them of their responsibility to provide a response to our enquiries and told them to do so in future.
We considered that consumers would have understood the home page’s "Free Shipping with ourpay select" claim to mean that no financial commitment beyond the purchase of items sold by MYSALE was necessary to obtain free delivery, but that they may need to use a particular payment method in order to qualify for that free delivery.
We understood that “Select” was a delivery subscription service exclusive to MYSALE. Consumers could subscribe to one of three tiers of service, the cheapest costing £10 which provided four ‘free’ deliveries a year. Those deliveries could only be redeemed against orders placed using the “Ourpay” payment method, which was also exclusive to MYSALE and which allowed consumers to pay for items in four instalments over a six-week period, without accruing interest.
We noted that the ourpaySELECT page detailed the two elements of the service: “buy now pay later” (Ourpay); and “free delivery” (Select). The graphic alongside the claim showed the three tiers of four, eight and 12 “free” deliveries, along with their corresponding costs and savings – for example, four deliveries cost £10.00 with a saving of £10.00. There did not appear to be any charge for using the Ourpay service, and we understood that MYSALE’s standard delivery charge was £5.00. It therefore appeared that the savings claims were intended to represent savings against the standard charge for the number of “free” deliveries in each plan. While it appeared that using the Select delivery subscription service would be cheaper than paying standard delivery costs for four, eight or 12 separate deliveries, Select deliveries were not “free” and were instead included within the up-front cost of the service.
For that reason, we concluded that it was misleading for MYSALE to refer to the delivery aspect of their ourpaySELECT service as “free”.
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 3.23 3.23 Marketing communications must make clear the extent of the commitment the consumer must make to take advantage of a "free" offer. (Free).
The claim must not appear again in the form complained of. We told MYSALE not to refer to deliveries as “'free” when the cost of deliveries was included in the upfront cost of the service. We referred the matter to the CAP Compliance team.