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Advertiser: Boyle Sports
Medium: Internet (Company Website), Press
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 4.1, 4.4, 4.5, 4.6
The advertisement referred to the following:
All losing bets refunded as a free bet if the crossbar is hit
Woodwork hit 84 times in the qualifiers!
Boylesports | Here Oui Go! | Fon-A-Bet 1800 … …
Mobile Desktop Shops open until 9.30PM”.
To the right of the above information there was an image of a football hitting a crossbar the writing on the football read “CROSSBAR CHALLENGE”.
The writing in the footnote referred to the fact that:
“T&C’s apply. See Boylesports.com/promotions for full details”.
The advertisement on the advertisers’ website under ‘New customer offer’ was the same as the above, the only difference being that the reference to the fact that terms and conditions applied to the offer was indicated in the bottom right hand corner in very small print as follows:
The complainant said having viewed the main headline of the offer i.e. “all losing bets refunded if either team hits the crossbar” he placed three bets. In one of the games he had placed his bet on, the ball hit the crossbar and when he went to avail of his refund he was informed that the offer only applied if the ball rebounded back into play. The complainant said this fact had not been indicated in the advertising viewed by him and therefore he considered the advertising to be misleading.
The advertisers said they were surprised to hear that their offer had given rise to a complaint by a member of the public. They said the promotion in question was one that they ran on a regular basis targeting both UK and Irish customers and to date it had been well received.
The advertisers said that both advertisements had referenced the fact that terms and conditions applied to the offer. The newspaper had indicated as follows:
“T&Cs apply. See boylesports.com/promotions for full details”.
The advertisers said that likewise the advertising on their website had indicated that:
“T&Cs apply”. They also said that a link through had been provided to the terms and conditions from this point.
More crucially, the advertisers said, to take part in their online offer, customers had to login to their account by clicking on the “opt-in” button, directly to the left of the opt-in button there was once again a link provided to the “Terms and Conditions”. The advertisers said they considered their terms and conditions had been clearly written and easy to understand. They said the fact that “The ball must rebound back into play off the crossbar” had been indicated in their terms and conditions.
The advertisers said there were no terms and conditions applicable to the amount of bets that could be placed, the only limiting factor to the promotion (as per the terms and conditions) was that the maximum refund on any bet was €25. Even if a customer presented three bets with a total stake between them of €30, the maximum refund would still be €25.
The advertisers said that in the case to hand the complainant did not receive a refund on any of his bets as the ball had not bounced back into play.
The Complaints Committee considered the details of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. The Committee noted that there were detailed terms and conditions attached to the offer. They accepted that while there was an onus on participants to read the terms and conditions attached to any offer that the fact the ball having hit the crossbar needed to bounce back into play was a major condition that should have been referenced in the main copy of the advertisement to allow consumers to make an informed choice upfront as to whether they wanted to participate in the ‘Challenge’.
The Committee concluded that the advertising had breached Sections 4.1, 4.4, 4.5 and 4.6 of the Code.
The advertisement should not be used in the same format again.