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Advertiser: Circle K
Medium: Internet (Company Website)
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 5.22(a), 5.22(b), 5.22(c)
The advertisement stated the following:
“The permanent TSB Fuel Card from Topaz comes with many benefits, but we’d like you to know up front that:
• The Card is 100% FREE
• It comes with up to 14 days INTEREST FREE CREDIT on all your fuel purchases”
The complainant considered the advertisement to be misleading in relation to the claim that the fuel card was 100% free, as the terms and conditions stated that there was a fee of €25 for all new account applications. She said that the Application section of the Terms and Conditions stated “All new account applications will incur a fee of €25 (or sterling equivalent). The fee will be charged in the first invoice from FCS.” (1)
(1) Fuel Card Services Limited.
The advertisers considered that this was not false advertising. They said the terms referred to were the standard Circle K Fuelcard terms, which carried an administration charge of €25. They said that, however, the fee was waived by Circle K for the Permanent TSB Fuelcard scheme, and that applicants were not charged. They said they operated many different fuel card affinity schemes with different partners and that each may have different benefits. They re-iterated that the fee was not applicable to the Circle K Permanent TSB Fuelcard Scheme and was waived. They considered the fee was not hidden as was waived for the Permanent TSB scheme and not applicable. For other schemes, they said that if the fee was applied there was no claim that the fuel card was free. They said that this claim was made specifically in relation to the Permanent TSB Fuelcard and so the claim that it was 100% free was factually correct.
Complaint Not Upheld.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response.
They noted that while the standard terms indicated that there was an application charge for the fuel card, that charge was not relevant to the advertised card. While there was a disconnect between the advertising claim and the terms and conditions which could cause confusion to consumers, the advertising claim was correct. In the circumstances there was no breach of the Code involved.
No further action required.