Argos promotion complaint upheld
Catalogue retailer Argos has been censured for a promotion which falsely boasted a discount on refrigerators.
The claim, on www.argos.co.uk, stated customers could "save up to 20% on all refrigeration".
However, a customer said that not all items in the refrigeration range had been discounted and challenged the savings claim.
The Advertising Standards Authority upheld the complaint, stating the advert must not feature again in its current form.
The original promotion said all products in the Argos refrigeration range had been reduced, and they supplied spreadsheet information showing the price of each product prior to the promotion and the discounted price at the time of the promotion.
Argos said more than 10% of the products were available with at least a 20% reduction and provided pricing calculations in support of that. Argos also said its online system was locked to only display pricing reductions on products where the higher price had been charged for a minimum of 28 consecutive days, in accordance with Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) guidelines.
The retailer said text was included in the offer banner stating that prices listed online already included a discount and considered that this was sufficient to avoid customers being misled as to the discount offer.
The ASA noted that, although some were not displayed with a discount or savings message, it appeared that all the products in the refrigeration range had been reduced and that more than 10% were reduced by the 20% headline saving.
Because the website referred to discounts on "all" products, the ASA said that consumers would need to know what discount applied to each product in order to make an informed choice about which product to select.
BIS guidelines recommended that a price used as a basis for a comparison should be the most recent price available for 28 days or more unless the basis of the comparison was made clear in the advert.
An ASA report into the claim said: "We noted that the higher price for some products had been available for 14 days prior to the offer and we considered that the absence of this time period from the ad meant that the basis of the price comparison on those products was not clear.
"Because the website did not display the discount applied to every product in the range, and because it did not make clear the basis of the price comparison on those products that had not been offered at the higher price for 28 consecutive days, we concluded that the savings claims were misleading."