An email from lookfantastic.com, dated 1 April 2021, included the claims “Haircare Sale – Up to 40% Off Kérastase, Olaplex, Redken & More!” and “Haircare Sale – Up to 40% Off* - Including Kérastase, Grow Gorgeous, Beauty Works & more!”
IssueThe complainant, who understood that very few products in the sale, and none for the brands mentioned in the ad, had the advertised level of discount, challenged whether the claim “up to 40% Off” was misleading.
The Hut.com Ltd t/a lookfantastic.com said that all haircare products on the site were included in the promotion and that the brands featured in the ad all had a reduction in the usual selling price. They explained that the percentage of products which were reduced in price by 40% exceeded 10% of the total number of products included in the promotion and that Grow Gorgeous, Beauty Works, Olaplex and Redken brands included products that were discounted by at least 40% against the RRP.
They explained that Kérastase were discounted at a rate of 32% which was close to the advertised discount. They said that brands featured in future similar promotions would be reduced by the full discounted rate.
The ASA welcomed The Hut’s willingness to amend their advertising in future.
We noted that The Hut had intended the discount to relate to the RRP of the products in the sale. Small print at the bottom of the email stated “Onsite savings are based on RRP”. However, the text was small and contained within a larger block of text, and it was therefore not prominent. In the absence of clear and prominent qualification in the ad to make clear that the savings were based on RRPs, we considered that consumers would understand the claim “Up to 40% Off” in the context of a sale to mean that a significant proportion of products in the promotion had been discounted at a rate of 40% against the usual selling price of the products, as sold by lookfantastic.com. However, we had not seen any evidence that was the case, and we therefore considered the claim was misleading.
In addition, we noted that Kérastase products were explicitly stated as being included in the sale, and we considered that consumers would expect that products which were discounted at the full 40% rate would include that brand. Had the ad made sufficiently clear that the discounts were against RRPs, we considered the ad would still have been misleading. For those reasons, we concluded that the ad was likely to mislead.
The ad breached the CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation), 3.9 (Qualification) and 3.17 (Prices).
The ad must not appear again in the form complained about. We told The Hut.com Ltd t/a Lookfantastic.com to make sufficiently clear what the prices used as a reference were based on – for example, a Recommended Retail Price – and to ensure they held adequate evidence to substantiate claims that were likely to be understood as representing genuine savings from the usual selling price of the products. We also told them to ensure that products from all brands featured in future similar promotions were discounted at the full rate.