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Product: Household products
Medium: Internet (Company Website)
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10
Advertising on Vikingdirect.ie for three different household cleaning products referred to the fact in the headline of each offer that they were all:
The complainant said that she ordered the three items all of which had been identified as being “fragrance free”. She said that having contact dermatitis and being allergic to all fragrances, she discovered when she received the items that they all contained Perfume in the ingredients.
The complainant considered the advertising to be misleading and queried whether other items listed may also have been advertised incorrectly.
The advertisers said they accepted that the items in question were not in fact fragrance free and should not have been referred to as such in the headline of each offer. They said that one of the products had referred to the fact in the main body text that when used it would leave “a fresh polished fragrance”.
The advertisers said on receipt of the complaint they immediately withdrew the items in question and examined all other products which were being sold on their website. They identified that over 100 products had been advertised incorrectly. They said the errors had been identified as coming from the description data field on their system which had automatically populated the headline information for each product. They said that the description field was a mandatory field and if the vendor did not identify what fragrance the product had, it automatically populated to the default which was “Fragrance free/ unscented/neutral”. They said once the error had come to light the data had been removed.
To prevent similar errors from occurring in the future, the advertisers said they had reviewed their internal processes and highlighted the issue which had occurred to all contributors to their website. They were also changing their internal processes to ensure that additional checks were made to the data field in question.
They advertisers offered their apologies to the complainant and said that any customer who had been affected by their error had had their money refunded.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. The Committee noted that the advertisers had reviewed their internal processes and had amended all incorrect product descriptions.
The Committee considered that the product descriptions had been incorrect and in the circumstances considered that the advertising had breached Sections 4.1 and 4.4 of the Code.
As the advertisement had been amended no further action was required in this case.