A website, www.petervardy.com, for a car dealership, seen on 6 June 2016, featured a picture of a car with a speech bubble containing the text "save 43%". Text on the right-hand side stated, "PRICE WHEN NEW: £20,939 FROM: £11,999 SAVE: £8,940. Text further down the page, under the heading "Specification", stated, "CASH PRICE Our Price £11,999 Price When New £20,939 Saving £8,940 Limited Time Offer".
The complainants, who understood the ad compared the price of a used car against its list price when new, and who believed such a comparison was not a fair one, challenged whether the claimed saving was misleading.
Peter Vardy Ltd did not respond to the ASA's enquiries.
The ASA was concerned by Peter Vardy’s lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of the 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 told them to do so in future.
Complaint not upheld
The CAP Code required that ads make the basis of a price comparison clear. In this case, “Save 43%" was the most prominent price claim, but the “when new" and "from" headings and figures, and the ‘saving’ expressed in pounds sterling, appeared directly alongside that price claim and the photograph of the car. The heading above the image of the car also stated “64 Plate” along with the vehicle make and model. We considered the information was presented sufficiently clearly for readers to understand the basis of the price comparison and to understand that the "you save" figure referred to the difference between the price of the car when originally new and the current market value of a used car. Because we considered the basis of the price comparison was sufficiently clear, we concluded that the savings claims were unlikely to mislead.
We investigated the ad under 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), 3.17 3.17 Price statements must not mislead by omission, undue emphasis or distortion. They must relate to the product featured in the marketing communication. (Prices) and 3.39 3.39 Marketing communications that include a price comparison must make the basis of the comparison clear.
CAP has published a Help Note on Retailers' Price Comparisons and a Help Note on Lowest Price Claims and Price Promises. (Price comparisons), but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary in relation to the ad’s content. We told Peter Vardy to respond to our enquiries in future. We referred the matter to CAP's Compliance team.