Claims on the website www.roomstogo.org.uk included "free delivery When spending over £200" and "FREE DELIVERY ON ALL ORDERS".
The complainant challenged whether the ad was misleading, because, having placed an order for over £200, he was informed that his postcode incurred a delivery charge of £35.
Roomstogo said there was a page on their website that gave details of any surcharges that applied to deliveries. They said, similar to other online businesses, they passed on those surcharges. They said they did so at cost price and explained on the website what the costs would be in the region of. They provided a link to the relevant web page and said they had not received any other complaints.
The ASA noted the claim "free delivery When spending over £200" contradicted that there was "FREE DELIVERY ON ALL ORDERS". Nevertheless, we considered consumers were likely to understand that free delivery was available, either on all orders or when over £200 was spent, regardless of the delivery address. We noted the web page to which roomstogo had provided a link stated in bold text "All our items are delivered free of charge on orders over £200. Items under £200 are subject to a £20 nominal charge". Further text below stated "All our deliveries are free of charge to UK mainland postcodes on orders over £200. Any order below £200 is subject to a nominal £20 charge … In addition anything north of Glasgow/Edinburgh will incur a surcharge of between £20-£50 depending on products and postcode specifics. These will be advised either at the time of ordering or immediately after the transaction is carried out online. These charges are NOT automatically added to the cost and will need to be paid for extra before shipping. The following postcodes are included but this list is not exhaustive …". Postcodes were listed and details of shipping to non-UK mainland addresses were also provided.
We considered, however, that information contradicted the main claims, rather than clarifying them, and was therefore not sufficient to counteract the impression that delivery was free regardless of the delivery address. We considered the claims should not have referred to "ALL ORDERS" and should have made clear, within or directly next to the claim itself, that in addition to having to spend over £200 to qualify for free delivery, the offer was available only for those UK mainland addresses not north of Glasgow or Edinburgh. We concluded that the ad was misleading.
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 3.9 3.9 Marketing communications must state significant limitations and qualifications. Qualifications may clarify but must not contradict the claims that they qualify. (Qualification).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told roomstogo to ensure their future advertising did not state or imply that delivery was free in all instances, or for all addresses, if that was not the case.