A regional press ad for a technology retailer, on 20 April 2011, was headlined "WE LOVE GREAT DEALS UP TO 50% OFF THIS EASTER at bestbuy.co.uk or in-store". The ad featured an image of a TOSHIBA 32" LCD TV next to a roundel that stated "SAVE £200". Text underneath the image stated "Model:32KV500 Freeview, USB input ... NOW £199.99". The text "was £399.99*" was crossed through. Footnoted text at the bottom of the ad stated "*Previous price valid in-store only from 8/10/10 - 11/12/10".
The complainant challenged whether the claim that the product was previously priced at £399.99 was misleading and could be substantiated.
The Carphone Warehouse Ltd (TCW) said the advertised Toshiba 32” TV was priced at £399.99 in Best Buy stores between 8 October and 11 December 2010, and they pointed out that that was clearly stated in the small-print. They provided documentation that showed all the prices at which the advertised product had previously been sold, both online and in store, between October 2010 and June 2011.
TCW said the price comparison in the ad complied with the BERR Pricing Practices Guide, that the basis of the comparison was made clear in the small-print, and that they believed that small-print was suitably prominent and in line with the CAP guidance on qualifying text.
The ASA noted the BERR Pricing Practices guide [now the BIS Pricing Practices guide] recommended that a comparison with an advertiser’s own previous price should, in general, be with the immediately previous price for that product, but where the comparison was with an earlier price, the basis of that comparison should be made clear. We also noted the guide recommended that the previous price used in the comparison should have been available for 28 consecutive days.
We noted from the documentation provided that the Toshiba 32” TV had been priced at £399.99 in store for a period of 47 consecutive days during October and December 2010. We also noted that the product had again been priced at £399.99 in store in February 2011, and online for two periods in October and November 2010, albeit for less than 28 consecutive days in each instance. We considered that the basis on which the price comparison had been made was clearly qualified in the small-print. Because of that, and because the product had been previously priced at £399.99, we concluded that the ad was not misleading.
We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. (Misleading advertising), 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) and 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) but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.