The website www.royalmail.co.uk, seen on 10 October 2017, featured the text “Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed Guaranteed next day parcel delivery When it’s simply got to be there, Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed offers time delivery by 9am or 1pm next day … We’ll give you a refund if your parcel isn’t delivered by 9am or 1pm the next working day … Anything else you need to know? You must drop off your Special Delivery Guaranteed parcels before the latest acceptance time …”.
The complainant, whose item had not been delivered the following working day, challenged whether the claim “Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed Guaranteed next day parcel delivery” was misleading and could be substantiated.
Royal Mail Group (RMG) stated that the ad accurately described their guaranteed next day delivery service, including the timescales for delivery and how they guaranteed the timescales of the service they were offering. Furthermore, the ad explained that compensation was available if the offered timescale was not achieved.
RMG stated that on their “Anything Else You Need to Know” page, consumers were provided with a link to useful information about where parcels needed to be dropped off and by which time in order to achieve the offered timescales.
RMG provided data which they stated showed the actual percentage of items that were delivered on time under their 9am and 1pm guaranteed next day special delivery service. They stated that the failure rate for 9 am deliveries was 1.66% and 1.36% for 1pm deliveries, which included failures for reasons outside and within their control.
The ASA considered that consumers would interpret the claim “Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed Guaranteed next day parcel delivery” to mean that if they selected that delivery service, their parcel would be delivered to the recipient the next working day. We understood that the parcel would be received by either 9am or 1pm by the recipient. Furthermore, we noted that the ad included the text “You must drop off your Special Delivery Guaranteed parcels before the latest acceptance time”, which we considered made clear to consumers that they had to send their parcel by a specified time in order for it to be delivered to the recipient the next working day.
We understood that the complainant’s parcel had not been delivered the next working day as expected and they consequently, received a refund (as mentioned in the ad).
We referred to the data RMG provided and noted that from 27 March 2017 to 13 November 2017 98.34% of items were delivered within the guaranteed timescales under their 9am Guaranteed Delivery service. Regarding their 1pm Guaranteed Delivery service, 98.64% of items were delivered within the guaranteed timescales from 27 March 2017 to 13 November 2017. We considered that these were very strong statistics demonstrating that RMG had delivered a significant number of packages the following working day under their “Special Delivery Guaranteed next day parcel delivery” service over a sufficient period of time (eight months).
Because of that, we considered RMG had provided adequate evidence to support the claim “Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed Guaranteed next day parcel delivery” and concluded that it had been substantiated and was not misleading.
We investigated the claim under 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) but did not find it in breach.
No further action required.