The home page of the Parcelhero parcel delivery service website, www.parcelhero.com, seen on 3 February 2020, featured a link to “Quote Me”, which led to a further page containing three columns under which prices were listed for a number of couriers. The columns were entitled “Next day”, “2+ days” and “Timed delivery”.
IssueThe complainant, whose parcel was not received the day after it was posted, challenged whether the claim “Next day” was misleading and could be substantiated.
ParcelHero.com Ltd said that as a reseller of courier services, they used the “Next day” term to reflect the services displayed on each of the couriers’ websites. They said that every company in the logistics industry provided an estimated transit time, but shipments were delayed for many different reasons. They provided a list of circumstances under which shipments could be delayed within three main categories of force majeure, carrier errors and receiver errors, and said that no carrier was able to deliver anywhere close to 100%.
Parcelhero provided a report which showed a next day delivery rate of 88.6% through one courier throughout February 2020, which they believed was sufficient to demonstrate that they provided a next day service. They said that they felt it was a fair and reasonable statement as long as the vast majority of deliveries were delivered next day.
The ASA considered that consumers would interpret the claim “Next day” in the ad, which was seen alongside the two other delivery options “2+days” and “Timed delivery”, to mean that if they selected that delivery service, their parcel would be delivered to the recipient the next working day, barring exceptional or unforeseen circumstances outside of Parcelhero’s control.
We considered the information provided by Parcelhero. While we accepted that some of the circumstances, such as bad weather, accidents or the recipient not being home were outside of the advertiser’s control, we did not consider that to be the case with others, such as being unable to locate the address. We understood that the complainant chose to post their parcel through one of the couriers listed in the ad, to whom Parcelhero’s report related. However, we considered that the next day delivery rate of 88.6% shown in the report was insufficient to substantiate the claim.
For those reasons, we concluded that the claim “Next day” in the ad was misleading and therefore breached the Code. The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. (Misleading advertising) and 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).
The ad must not appear again in the form complained of. We told ParcelHero.com Ltd not to use the claim “Next day” unless they held adequate evidence to substantiate the claim.