A paid-for Facebook post and email for Rotimatic:
a. The post, seen on 23 October 2018, stated “Enjoy the biggest savings on Rotimatic this Diwali! Enjoy 15% off … Hurry”, accompanied by an image of the product and text beside which stated “SAVE £191”. Further text underneath stated “Limited time only. T&C apply”.
b. The email, sent on 3 November 2018, stated “Last chance to get Rotimatic by Diwali and save £191!”. Text underneath an image of the product stated, “SAVE BIG WITH GBP 191 OFF!”.
The complainant, who had received similar emails between July and November 2018, challenged whether the savings claims were misleading.
Zimplistic Pte Ltd t/a Rotimatic said in relation to ad (a) that they had offered seasonal or festive promotions and discounts in 2018, the Diwali promotion in October offered the largest discount on the Rotimatic in 2018. They said during January to September 2018, they had sold around 700 units of the Rotimatic in the UK with a discount ranging from 0% to 10%, which was lower than the 15% discount offered during Diwali season.
Rotimatic provided pricing data which covered the period from 17 April 2018 to 28 September 2018. They said the pricing was inclusive of discount, taxes and shipping fees. The prices were provided in US Dollars (USD) and they said that the average price of the product during Diwali was $970 USD. During that period they said they sold 326 units of the Rotimatic out of which 99% were priced at $970 USD and above.
Rotimatic also provided further pricing information for quantities of the product sold between 17 April and 5 November 2018, which were captured in USD until 10 July 2018 and in GBP subsequently.
The ASA considered that consumers were likely to understand the claims “Enjoy 15% off” and “Save £191” to represent a genuine saving against the usual selling price of the product at the time the ads appeared.
We noted that ad (a) stated “Biggest Diwali Sale Save £191” which indicated that the price reduction was a seasonal offer and therefore was time limited. The ad, however, did not mention the usual selling price of the product. Ad (b) also did not state the usual selling price of the product while making the same savings claim, but again claimed a saving of £191. We therefore expected to see evidence that the usual selling price was £191 more than the price it was being sold for on the dates the ads were seen.
The pricing history showed that the price had fluctuated significantly. The data showed the ‘shipping date’ rather than the date of order, so it was not clear whether the price shown alongside each date represented the price the product was on sale for on that date. Orders with a shipping date of 23 October, when ad (a) was seen, showed a price of £764. There were no orders dated 3 November, when ad (b) was seen, but orders around that date were also £764. We therefore expected the advertiser to show that the non-discounted price was £955.
However, we could find no orders for that amount in the pricing history. The first part of the data was given in USD, so it was not clear how much they had charged in GBP. Prices in GBP, with shipping dates starting in July 2018, ranged from £764 to £1,126, with the vast majority being £899 or under. Almost half of sales where a price in GBP was available were made at either £809 or £810. Given that, we considered that the advertiser had not shown that £955 was the usual selling price of the product at the time that ad was seen.
We therefore concluded that the savings claim had not been substantiated and was likely to mislead.
Ads (a) and (b) breached 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).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Zimplistic Pte Ltd t/a Rotimatic to ensure their future savings claims did not mislead and to ensure they substantiated savings against the usual selling price of their products.