The website www.woodandbeyond.com, for a flooring, worktop and decking retailer, seen throughout August 2016 featured several promotions which scrolled across the home page. Text stated “NEWSHOWROOMSALE [sic] 12% OFF ON ALL ORDERS … OFFER ENDS 3RD AUGUST!”. On a later date in August text stated “…14% OFF ON ALL ORDERS … OFFER ENDS 8TH AUGUST!”. On a subsequent date in August, the website stated “…13% OFF ON ALL ORDERS … OFFER ENDS 10TH AUGUST!”.
Direct Online Services Ltd, who understood the discount amount was continually altered and the closing date was regularly extended, challenged whether the claim “12% OFF ON ALL ORDERS … OFFER ENDS 3RD AUGUST” was misleading.
Wood and Beyond Ltd did not provide a substantive respose to the ASA's enquiries.
The ASA was concerned by Wood and Beyond Ltd’s lack of substantive response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.7 1.7 Any unreasonable delay in responding to the ASA's enquiries will normally be considered a breach of the Code. (Unreasonable delay). We reminded them of their responsibility to provide a substantive response to our enquiries and told them to do so in future.
We considered that consumers were likely to understand that the initial offer “NEWSHOWROOMSALE [sic] 12% OFF ON ALL ORDERS … OFFER ENDS 3RD AUGUST!” was time-limited and they would need to have placed an order by the 3 August to obtain the 12% discount, and that if they placed an order after that date no discount would apply. We noted, however, that a subsequent promotion offering a discount on all orders appeared a few days after the initial promotion which again claimed to be time-limited, albeit with a higher discount of 14%. Furthermore, after the closing date of that second promotion, a similar offer appeared with a revised closing date and a 13% discount. We considered that, because each offer was subsequently replaced with a similar promotion, albeit with varying discounts, Wood and Beyond had in effect extended the time to respond.
The CAP Code stated that closing dates must not be changed unless unavoidable circumstances beyond the control of the promoter made it necessary and either not to change the date would be unfair to those who sought to participate within the original terms, or those who sought to participate within the original terms will not be disadvantaged by the change. Wood and Beyond had not provided any explanation as to why there were consecutive promotions offering discounts on all items. We considered that consumers, who had taken up the initial offer may have hurried into participating in the promotion believing it was about to end when they could have delayed taking part until a more convenient time, may have been disadvantaged as a result. We also considered that consumers partaking within the original terms were further disadvantaged because the offer, which purported to end on 8 August, offered a more generous discount.
Because of those reasons, we concluded the promotions were misleading and in breach of the CAP Code.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. (Misleading advertising), 8.2 8.2 Promoters must conduct their promotions equitably, promptly and efficiently and be seen to deal fairly and honourably with participants and potential participants. Promoters must avoid causing unnecessary disappointment. (Promotional marketing) and 8.17.4.e 8.17.4.e Closing dates must not be changed unless unavoidable circumstances beyond the control of the promoter make it necessary and either not to change the date would be unfair to those who sought to participate within the original terms, or those who sought to participate within the original terms will not be disadvantaged by the change. (Significant conditions for promotions).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Wood and Beyond Ltd to ensure closing dates of promotions were not extended unless unavoidable circumstances beyond their control made it necessary. We referred the matter to CAP’s Compliance team.