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Product: Leisure (Gambling)
Advertiser: DataXcel Ltd
Medium: Direct Email
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 4.10, 5.15, 5.16, 5.17, 5.22
A direct email with the subject heading “Wednesday Draw Alert” advertised the ‘Pick my Postcode’ lottery amount and included an offer from a third-party company. A hyperlinked banner featured the third-party company logo and a link to create an account. The wording on the banner stated:
“Sign up now to receive €1000 bonus for free and 100 Free spins.
Create a free account to get started.”
The wording under the banner stated:
“Create an account with [third party name] and get 100 FREE spins.
Create an account with [third party name] today and you will get 100 FREE spins as well as the chance to receive a €1000 bonus.”
Underneath was the following hyperlinked text: “Get 100 Free spins”.
The complainant, who was signed up to the advertisers’ service, viewed the offer in the email and presumed that the offer was from a subsidiary of the advertisers. After signing up for the offer and creating an account, they were brought to a deposit webpage. The complainant contacted the third-party and was advised that they were required to make a deposit into their account in order to avail of the offer and that by signing up to the offer, they had agreed to their terms and conditions. The complainant considered that the advertising was misleading as no reference had been made to the requirement to make a deposit to avail of the offer, nor had there been any reference to any terms and conditions.
The complainant considered that the advertising was misleading as it was not clear that the offer was from a third-party company and had they known this, they would not have signed up and given away their personal data to an unknown company.
Issues 1 and 2
The advertisers said that the need to sign-up with personal details was not requested or mandatory at any point before the requirement to make a deposit was communicated on the third-party website. This had been highlighted by the 3 steps on the home page of the 3rd party website where the link directed the user to the relevant sign-up information with a link to the terms and conditions also provided.
The 3 steps provided were as follows:
1. Create a free account. Easy and fast signup
2. Deposit and get €1000 bonus. Get up to €1000 in bonus + 100 free spins
3. Register. Play and withdraw. Play and withdraw winnings secure and fast.
The advertisers said they had paused the advertisement in question in its current form and would ensure that all aspects of the Code are applied to this advertisement in future.
The ASAI Executive noted that the sign-up process on the third-party site required users to provide an email and a mobile telephone number.
Upheld in part.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response.
Issue 1 - Upheld
The Committee noted the headline offer of the advertisement invited viewers to “Sign up now to receive a €1,000 bonus for free and 100 free spins, but step 2 of the sign-up process informed viewers “that a “Deposit” was required.
The Complaints Committee noted that while the offer landing page had included a link to Terms and Conditions, the email advertising had not. They also noted that the email advertising had not specified that to avail of the offer, as well as creating an account, a deposit would be required. The Committee considered that the requirement to make a deposit was a condition that was likely to affect a consumer’s decision whether to participate in the promotion or not and therefore they considered it should have been stated in the main copy of the advertising. In light of this, the Committee concluded that the advertising was in breach of Code Sections 4.1, 4.4, and 5.16 of the Code.
Issue 2 – Not Upheld.
The Complaints Committee noted that the third-party company had been named in the advertising and that a direct link had been included to the third-party’s website. The Committee also noted that the advertising had stated “Create an account with [third-[party]” and therefore had referred to the third-party company and the requirement to create an account. In the circumstances, the Committee did not consider that the inclusion of the offer in the email had implied that it was an offer from the advertisers, and therefore, they did not uphold this aspect of the complaint.