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Product: Household (Furniture)
Advertiser: Flanagans Furniture Ltd
Medium: Internet (Company Website)
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10
A product page on the advertisers’ website displayed an image of the product “Leona High Gloss Side Board White & Black” together with product details, delivery information and pricing.
The complainant purchased the product and said that, although it appeared complete on the website, it was delivered flat-packed and therefore required assembly. They felt it was misleading that this information was not provided on the product page.
The advertisers forwarded a copy of the Terms & Conditions section on the website which notes that:
“Some items are supplied flat pack and will require assembly. Should you require assembly of your item(s), please call us and we will be happy to assist you. Assembly charges will vary.”
They said large items would obviously need assembly as they could not deliver, for example, a full size, assembled bed to customers. They said that they have worked closely with the CCPC to ensure that they follow all EU laws in selling online.
However, in response to a request from the ASAI Executive that assembly information be stated on applicable product pages (or that a link be provided to it) and that attention be drawn, on the Delivery Policy page, to the fact that some items were supplied flat pack, the advertisers amended the information on the ‘Terms and Conditions’ page to read “Some items are supplied flat pack and will require assembly, please check.”.
They said that the onus is on the customer to read the terms and conditions and that they did not have the facility to mark all of their products that may require assembly.
The ASAI Executive viewed some of the advertisers’ online product pages. They noted that product details (height, width and depth), pricing and estimated delivery times were provided for each product.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response.
The Committee acknowledged that a general statement that some products were supplied flat pack was included in the ‘Terms and Conditions’ section of the website. They noted that bespoke product details (height, width and depth), pricing and estimated delivery times were provided for each product.
The Committee considered that product self-assembly or provision of an accompanying assembly service was a major condition of which consumers needed to be aware. As product pages had included bespoke product details, they considered that it was likely that consumers would reasonably assume that such details contained the minimum relevant information. In the absence of information indicating, at a minimum, that some products may require self-assembly or require assistance with assembly on delivery of a product, the Committee considered the advertisement was in breach of Code Sections 4.1 and 4.4.
The product information details should be amended to, at a minimum, indicate that some products require self-assembly and provide consumers with details of how to check.