The cushions section of the advertisers’ website included an offer on a range of cushions marked as ‘clearance’. One advertisement for a “Fiona Cushion” stated:
Fiona Cushion 30 X 50cm
The complainant visited a store and purchased four cushion covers that were reduced to €1.99 each and four fillers for the cushions at €2.99. The complainant then wished to exchange her purchases for a different style of cushion, and on returning to the store they were advised that the new cushion came with the filling included. On enquiring, they were advised that when the cushion prices were reduced, the filling was removed. The complainant noted that the original price of the complete cushion was €4.99, however, after the reduction the cover was charged at €1.99 and the filling at €2.99, this came to €4.98, which made a saving of only 1c. The complainant considered that the website advertising was misleading as it did not state that the reduction applied to the cushion cover only but rather had implied that the full cushion was being reduced and that the advertised saving was incorrect as they had only made a saving of 1c rather than the saving of €3 advertised.
The advertisers stated that they highlight clearance cushions on their website with the following promo line – “Clearance – Cushion Cover Only”. They provided a copy of a screenshot from their website which showed that all their clearance cushions were displayed this way on their website. In regard to the cushion identified by the complainant, the Fiona Cushion, they said that this was displayed incorrectly due to an error on their site as it had been assigned to the incorrect category. They said that they stocked almost 8,000 products and the Fiona Cushion had been missed during their price updates and they apologised for the error.
The Executive asked the advertisers to advise whether the ‘before’ price of €4.99 applied to the full cushion (filler and cover) or just the cover only.
In reply the advertisers stated that the ‘before’ price of €4.99 applied to the full cushion (filler and cover).
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. The Committee noted that the words “Cushion Cover Only” had, due to human error, been omitted from the listing of the cushion the complainant viewed online to clarify that the offer applied to the cushion cover only. The Committee considered that irrespective of the clarification, the price saving indicated was incorrect as the ‘before’ price had applied to the full cushion while the reduced price applied to the cushion cover only. In the circumstances the Committee considered that the advertising was misleading and therefore in breach of Sections 4.1 and 4.4 of the Code.
The advertisement must not reappear in its current form.
The Complaints Committee told the advertisers to ensure that ‘before’ prices in advertising related to the product on offer.