Ad description

An email for Time Out Digital, promoting a product for Shaw Academy, received on 22 January 2017, included text which stated "An online photography course with Shaw Academy Was £395, now £19".


The complainant, who believed a similar product was available on the advertiser's website at a lower price, challenged whether the savings claim was misleading and could be substantiated.


Time Out Digital Ltd t/a Time Out responded on behalf of both parties. Time Out said Shaw Academy confirmed the offer was run in conjunction with their partner Live Academy and provided a link to the Live Academy website showing the product advertised at the higher price of £395. They provided a number of invoices and payment processing receipts dated from September 2016 up to the date the offer began, which they said demonstrated that customers had purchased the product for the higher price. They also provided a number of payment processing receipts dated after the offer had ended which demonstrated customers once more were purchasing the product for the higher price of £395.

Time Out said they believed this demonstrated the previous higher price was genuine and the normal selling price of the product.


Not upheld

The ASA considered that consumers were likely to understand that they could make a saving of £376 against the usual selling price of the course at the time the ad appeared if they took up the offer.

We acknowledged that the product referred to by the complainant was similar to the product advertised, but we considered that the advertiser had demonstrated that the product available at the higher price was the one appearing in the ad.

We considered that the evidence provided by Time Out demonstrated the product had been consistently advertised at the higher price, from September until the offer was advertised in January, and that it had returned to that price after the offer had ended. We therefore considered that the higher price amounted to the usual, genuine selling price for the product.

We therefore concluded the savings claim had been substantiated and 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.

CAP Code (Edition 12)

3.1     3.17     3.7    

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