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Product: Health & Beauty
Advertiser: Andrew Beatty Fitness
Medium: Internet (Company Website)
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10, 5.22(a), 5.22(b), 5.22(c)
Advertising for a 6 week challenge on the advertisers’ own website stated:
A banner across the page stated:
“THIS IS THE LAST DAY TO REGISTER!!!***”
“FREE Limerick 6 Week Challenge
Register now for free
Only 9 spots left of 40
1,463+ success stories and counting…will you be next?
Your spot will be reserved for..”
A countdown clock showing the number of hours, minutes and seconds left to avail of the offer was below the text.
Various ‘before’ and ‘after’ photographs were featured together with the person’s weight loss details.
A “Register Now” button was placed under the images.
“Check out how we have systematized The Transformation Process
The Three Pillars
Fitness Pillar Two:
Nutrition Pillar Two:
Nutrition (cont) Pillar Three:
New workouts everyday. You will be WITH A TRAINER 3 days per week taken through the most cutting edge workouts available to help you melt fat, tone up and see results fast AND – you will be able to track your own progress which will help you continue to improve, avoid plateaus and keep seeing results far past your 6 weeks. Nutrition Plan
We will sit down with you and make you your own custom meal plan. Exactly what you need given your body schedule and food preferences so it is not only doable but enjoyable. We adjust every week as needed to make sure you see results week-in, week-out. Grocery List
We will sit down with you and map out your exact grocery list so you know what to buy at the grocery store and leave nothing to guesswork. Average person spends €45/week on groceries for 21 meals at Walmart or Trader Joe’s. Our process will cut down on your time in the grocery store with most people getting in and out in under 15mins. Direct Line of Contact
Not only will you have us when you are in the gym working out but you will also be able to contact your personal accountability coach whenever you need help, tips, advice or just someone to give you some extra encouragement. We are here to help you succeed. They will also check-in weekly to congratulate you on your success and keep you on track.
We are real people opening up our newest location in Limerick and want to get our names out in the community. Please help us as we help you.
Claim your spot by clicking the button below:
REGISTER NOW FOR FREE
Your spot will be reserved for…”
The countdown clock again was featured below the above text.
“PS – If you’re anything like us, you just skipped to the end anyways. So here’s the scoop - we want to train you for free as long as you’re willing to put some skin in the game and actually show up and do you part. Our intention is to get you some amazing results and give you a great experience, so much so, that we hope you stay afterwards. But you’re not obligated to by any stretch (spoiler**most people stay because they love our facility so much – you’ve been warned)”
The complainant viewed the offer and after signing up for the offer she attended the gym to register. She was advised that she would have to pay €500 which she would then get back at the end of the six weeks programme if she successfully completed the challenge. The complainant asked if she could have time to think about the offer but was told she had to sign up there and then. She was advised of the terms and conditions of the offer which were:
1. Lose 25lbs or 7% body fat;
2. Follow a strict diet;
3. Attend the gym 3 times a week only, no further visits allowed, and that she must check into Facebook on each visit;
4. Check in online at the gym;
5. Post photographs of every meal she ate on their Facebook page;
6. Post a review of the gym on Facebook or Google.
The complainant said that after signing a contract and asking for a copy of it, she was told that she would have to take a photograph. Finally she said that she was also asked to sign up for a monthly charge of €247.
The complainant considered that the advertising was misleading as the offer was not free if respondents had to pay a fee upfront, nor did she consider it possible to avail of the free offer considering the strict terms and conditions.
The advertisers said that it appears that the complainant had signed up for the challenge, indicating that they had no issue with the challenge concept. Nevertheless, they said that they had since included a disclaimer on the challenge advertisement which advised clients exactly how the challenge worked before they arrived at the gym. They said they also advised clients by reminder text prior to their visit.
The Executive visited the advertisers’ website and noted the addition of a disclaimer at the bottom of the page which stated:
“Terms and conditions: Enrolment in the challenge requires a deposit of €500 which will be credited towards an ongoing membership upon completion of a successful challenge and after the participant has provided before & after pictures and online reviews.”
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response, including the amendment they had made to their challenge website. The Committee noted that the challenge was being advertised as free, however, respondents were required to pay €500 which was initially refunded if they successfully completed the challenge but was subsequently taken as a payment towards a monthly membership of the advertiser’s programme. The Committee considered the offer was in fact a ‘money-back’ offer that was initially dependent on achieving a goal and subsequently was a payment towards a monthly membership, and that it was not an unconditional ‘free’ offer. In the circumstances the Committee did not consider that the challenge could be described as ‘free’ and therefore the advertising was in breach of Sections 4.1, 4.4 and 5.22 of the Code.
The Complaints Committee told the advertiser to remove the reference to ‘free’ unless the challenge was offered free to respondents without the requirement of a deposit or similar payment.