A sign in the window of a Pumpkin Patch store stated:
“The BIG Winter Clearance!
Nothing over €9.
In store, a sign was positioned over the sale area which stated:
“The BIG Winter Kidswear Clearance!
Nothing over €9
Excludes half priced jackets hot deal & new season/priced as marked/yellow sticker items only.”
The complainant considered that the advertising was misleading as she had found many items in the store that were over €9. While she noted that the advertising did advise that exclusions applied to the offer, she considered the wording was small and that there were multiple items in store that were excluded.
The advertisers’ stated that their sale area at that point in the season would have been segregated at the back of the store away from the main area of their stock and the ‘full price’ displays, in order to avoid any confusion for customers. They stated that their aim was to make it as clear as possible to customers what prices and promotions were through the season. They also stated that the promotional signs would have only been on display above the sale areas, well away from the full price section of the store.
The Secretariat forwarded copies of previous adjudications by the Complaints Committee regarding headline offers, such as “All” or “Everything”, which had implied that all stock were included and asked the advertiser to comment on the use of “Nothing” when exclusions had applied to the offer.
No further response was received from the advertiser.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. The Committee noted that the headline stated “The Big Winter Clearance” which indicated, they considered, that only a particular type of stock was on offer.
The Committee considered that, while it was clearly acceptable to restrict an offer to a particular set of items, it was not acceptable to make an absolute claim for all items within the offer (Nothing over €9) whilst applying exclusions. In the light of this the Committee considered the advertising was in breach of Section 2.24 of the Code.
The advertising must not reappear in its current form.