The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld a complaint by a consumer who had rushed to make a purchase before a sale ended, only to see the price drop further. The ad watchdog said future ads must make the base of savings clear, so as not to mislead shoppers.
The complaint relates to an in-store point of sale price promotion by Furniture Village, seen on January 12 this year, advertising a promotion on a divan set, including mattress and base. A sale sign stated "ASP £1099 - Introductory Offer £549", with small text at the bottom adding "ASP = After Sale Price".
The complainant challenged whether the promotion had been administered fairly, as they had hurried to purchase before the promotion ended on January 20, only to see the price fall after to £499 after that date.
The ASA considered consumers would not necessarily be familiar with the abbreviation ASP and that, in any case, the references to both a "Sale" and an "Introductory Offer" meant that the basis of the savings claim was not clear to consumers.
Also, despite this particular offer running until February 17, there was no information explaining that on the point-of-sale signage and Furniture Village was running other offers with short closing dates at the same time, with information around the store, which referred to offers ending the following day.
In the context of this, the ASA believes the absence of a closing date suggested to consumers that they needed to act very quickly to take advantage of the lower price. “We considered that the deadline by which consumers needed to act to take advantage of an offer was significant information,” the ad watchdog said. “We therefore considered that the ad did not provide consumers with significant information that was likely to influence their decision to take up the offer.”
Because the basis of the savings claim was not clear and because shoppers were likely to believe they had to act more quickly than they needed to, the ASA concluded that the ad breached the Code and must not appear again in the form complained of.
“We told Furniture Village Ltd to ensure future ads made the basis of savings claims clear and did not suggest that consumers needed to act more quickly than was necessary to take advantage of an offer.”