The secondary ticketing website www.stubhub.co.uk, seen on 26 July 2017. The web page to select tickets for an event listed the different tickets available and their prices. In one example, text stated "£52.99/ea". Above the range of tickets, there was a button which stated “Filter”. Upon clicking that button, a tick-box appeared which stated “Show prices including fees”. The ticket price then changed to £64.82. Below the range of tickets, text stated "Prices are set by sellers, may be above face value and exclude fees". On the subsequent web page after clicking the ticket, text stated "TICKET PRICE. £52.99 each" followed by a "Go to Checkout" link. On the subsequent web page, text stated ORDER TOTAL £64.82. includes all fees" alongside a link which stated "Pricing details". Upon clicking that link, text stated "TOTAL PRICE: 1 x £52.99. TOTAL FEES* 1 x £11.83. *Includes our service fee, delivery and VAT".
The ASA challenged whether the presentation of the pricing information concerning the additional ticket fees and charges was misleading.
StubHub (UK) Ltd believed that it was clear from the qualification at the bottom of the first page of the customer journey that the prices shown excluded fees. In addition, the buyer was able to click the “filter” option and select the option to display tickets inclusive of fees by clicking “show prices including fees”. They said the final page of the customer journey also made clear that the total order included all relevant fees and provided a further breakdown of the ticket price and applicable fees. The buyer was, therefore, informed of all material pricing information prior to making a purchase. They also clarified that the delivery fee was a fixed fee that did not vary based on the delivery option that was set by the buyer.
The ASA noted the advertised £52.99 ticket price did not include the service and delivery fees. The CAP Code rules on misleading advertising and pricing required that, to avoid misleading consumers, quoted prices must include non-optional taxes and fees that applied to all or most buyers and should also state the applicable delivery fee; the only exception was when those fees could not be calculated in advance.
We understood that the service fee (which included VAT) and the delivery fee all had a fixed price, and were therefore all calculated in advance by StubHub. We noted that the total inclusive price was made clear on the third page of the customer journey, and that consumers had the option of selecting the “filter” button on the first page of the customer journey, which then displayed the total price of the tickets inclusive of the two charges. However, we considered that the ticket price inclusive of the service fee and the cost of delivery should have been made clear as soon as ticket prices were quoted, prior to selecting the “filter” button before the consumer had made a transactional decision to proceed further.
Because the ad did not make clear the total ticket price including the service fee, and did not make clear the applicable delivery fee, 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), 3.18 3.18 Quoted prices must include non-optional taxes, duties, fees and charges that apply to all or most buyers. However, VAT-exclusive prices may be given if all those to whom the price claim is clearly addressed pay no VAT or can recover VAT. Such VAT-exclusive prices must be accompanied by a prominent statement of the amount or rate of VAT payable. and 3.20 3.20 Marketing communications that state prices must also state applicable delivery, freight or postal charges or, if those cannot reasonably be calculated in advance, state that such charges are payable. (Prices).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told StubHub (UK) Ltd to ensure they made clear the total ticket price including the service fee and made clear the delivery fee as soon as ticket prices were quoted.