A promotional email sent out by Euro Car Parts last Christmas has been found to be ‘misleading’ by the advertising watchdog in a ruling published today (June 21).
An email was sent with the text: “Up to 69 percent off. Use code: XMAS”. However, three complainants who believed only one product had the full 69 percent discount, challenged whether the ad was misleading.
In response, ECP said that 10,378 products in the promotion received a discount of 69% or more and that this amounted to 11% of the total promoted stock. They explained that each product had a ‘Was’ price which was the price that Euro Car Parts regarded as their normal retail price for the product, and which had previously been charged either online or in stores. There was also a ‘Now’ price which was the price available to customers on that day without using the promotional code. They provided price history data for ten randomly selected products. They said the individual discount available on each featured product was revealed when the consumer used the ‘XMAS’ discount code at the checkout.
The ASA ruled against ECP. “We noted the discount applied to a price that had previously been charged either online or in stores, and that, when the discount was worked out against the price which was available to customers on that day without using the promotional code, the discount consumers actually received was significantly lower than the one being advertised. For example, a washer that had previously been sold at £0.38, and on that day was being sold for £0.12, was reduced to £0.08 once the code was entered. The advertised discount for that product was 79%, whereas the discount against the price on the day was 33%”.
The ASA told ECP ‘to ensure they did not exaggerate the savings available when making “up to” claims and to ensure that consumers were provided with information about the discount available on specific products on the relevant product pages’ and the promotion can’t run again in the same form.
This latest ruling is the third brush with the ASA that ECP has had in just over a month. Previously, the company were found to have another ‘misleading’ email promotion over the price of oil, but were cleared over a separate complaint on a separate TV commercial.