The email advertising referred to the following:
“FREE DECLEOR FACIAL!!
Decleor FREE Facial Promotion is back
for 2 Days only. Tuesday the 3rd & Wednesday the 4th of MARCH!!
Phone 01 … to enquire about booking your place and avail of our Best promotion ever!!
Get a FREE Facial worth €55.
FREE Retail size night balm worth €48.
FREE goodie bag worth €60.
You can Save yourself over €160!!
Limited places available so book early
to avoid disappointment!!
Two complainants considered the advertising to be misleading. They said that while the advertisers had referred to the fact that terms and conditions applied to the offer, no link had been provided to these from the email nor were they made available on the advertisers’ website. One complainant said that she had taken up a similar offer with the salon before and considered the wording used in their advertising to be unclear and misleading. The second complainant said that it was only when she rang the salon to enquire about the offer that she was informed that she had to purchase three products before she qualified for the free offer. Both complainants queried how an offer could be described as ‘free’ if they had to first purchase products to participate. Furthermore, they queried the validity of stating that terms and conditions applied to the offer, if they could not access them.
The advertisers said that they offered promotions such as this, two to three times a year and had done so for over 19 years, without receiving any complaints. In relation to the promotion to hand, they said they had received one telephone complaint concerning the unclear nature of the wording used. They apologised to the caller and said that they would try to be clearer with their wording in future promotions.
They said that their promotional offers were normally sent as part of their monthly based newsletter to their customers, who had signed up to receive it by email. They said that additional information was also sent to these customers, a couple of times a year, on special promotions. They said that the only way to book their promotions was by telephone, at which point the full details of the promotion were explained to customers.
They pointed out that one of the complainants had confirmed that the details of the promotion had been explained to them when they contacted the salon.
The advertisers said that while the promotion in question was no longer running, they would ensure in the preparation of future marketing communications, that the full terms and conditions attached to any promotion was made available to their customers.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaints and the advertisers’ response. They noted that while the advertisers had referred to the fact that terms and conditions had applied to the promotion that they had not made these available to their customers. The Committee noted that the Code did not prevent a free offer being conditional on the purchase of one or more other products provided the cost of those products is not increased. It should, however, be made clear in the advertising that this is the case. They upheld the complaints under Sections 2.22, 2.23, 2.24 and 3.15(a) of the Code.