A banner at the top of the home page of the Pretty Little Thing clothing website, www.prettylittlething.com, seen on 14 January 2019, featured text stating "£1 UK NEXT DAY DELIVERY* ENTER: ONENDD - HURRY! ENDS IN ...", followed by a timer counting down in real time.
The complainant, who understood that a new, similar next day delivery offer appeared as soon as the advertised offer finished, challenged whether the ad was misleading.
Prettylittlething.com Ltd said that they ran various promotions on delivery charges and provided customers with codes for reduced or free delivery. They said that this particular offer came to an end once the timer ran out and was replaced by a materially different offer. The average values of their customers’ orders was around £39, and in that context, shifting between free, £1 and £1.99 next day delivery would make a material difference to the cost. Prettylittlething said that they were not suggesting any saving against the standard charge for a particular method of delivery (so as to promote a saving by comparison) and they believed that this was in line with ASA advice.
The ASA considered that consumers would understand that once the countdown clock ran down to zero, the next day delivery option would return to the price at which it was usually sold. We acknowledged that the offer was not presented in the form of a savings claim, however “HURRY” and the countdown clock indicated that it was time-limited, which implied that the consumer would be getting a savings benefit compared to the usual cost of next day delivery.
We understood that the next day delivery offers regularly shifted between “free”, £1 and £1.99, and the complainant’s experience and our own monitoring indicated that there was always one of those offers available on the website on a time-limited basis. However, we considered that consumers were likely to regard the offer as a limited promotion, and not as part of an ongoing rotation of offers. We concluded that the ad was misleading and breached the Code.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
Promoters must conduct their promotions equitably, promptly and efficiently and be seen to deal fairly and honourably with participants and potential participants. Promoters must avoid causing unnecessary disappointment.
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:
How to participate
How to participate, including significant conditions and costs, and other major factors reasonably likely to influence consumers' decision or understanding about the promotion (Promotional marketing).
The ad must not appear again in the form complained about. We told Prettylittlething.com Ltd to ensure that their promotions were administered fairly and not to use time-limited promotions in a way that was likely to mislead consumers.