The website www.thomson.co.uk, for Thomson, seen on 25 December 2016, contained a search page for holidays on which large text stated "SALE NOW ON. Book your next holiday for less ... SAVE AN EXTRA £100 on summer holidays with code SALE100".
The complainant, who believed the price of a holiday she had searched for increased by £100 when the sale started, counteracting the £100 saving, challenged whether the claim "SAVE AN EXTRA £100 on summer holidays with code SALE100" was misleading and could be substantiated.
TUI UK Ltd t/a Thomson supplied details of the price shown on their system for the holiday the complainant had searched for. They said there were two flights which departed from the complainant's airport on the date chosen, each of which had its own separate flight cost, and two possible room types. They said the information showed how the flight time and room type that were selected affected the price but that it showed that the basic system price did not increase at the beginning of the sale period. They said there were no employees working in the trading department between the dates on which the complainant had searched for holidays – 25 and 26 December 2016 – and that therefore no active changes to the pricing would have occurred. They said it was not possible for a customer to short-list two identical holidays (the complainant had supplied a screenshot of two holidays she had short-listed on Thomson's system), and that the most likely explanation for the difference in price, seeing as the system price for the holiday had not changed, was that the customer had selected a different flight time. That would enable them to short-list both holidays, because they would then not be identical, and would also explain the difference in price.
The ASA considered consumers would understand the claim "SAVE AN EXTRA £100 on summer holidays with code SALE100" to mean that, by applying the "SALE100" code at the checkout, they would be making a genuine, meaningful saving compared to the price they would have paid at that same time if they did not apply the discount code.
We acknowledged that the evidence Thomson had provided showed that the price of the holiday had not changed as understood by the complainant. However, we considered that consumers would understand from the ad that, by applying the discount code at checkout, they would pay £100 less than they would otherwise have paid at that same time, rather than that they would pay £100 less for a holiday than they would have before the sale began. We considered consumers would generally understand that factors such as room type and the time of flights could have an impact on the price quoted for what appeared to be a similar holiday. Therefore, because the mechanism for the offer was that consumers received £100 off the price of the holiday than they would otherwise have paid if they did not apply the discount code, we concluded that the ad did not breach the Code.
We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation) and 3.17 (Prices) and 8.2 (Promotional marketing), but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.