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Product: Motoring (Car Park)
Advertiser: Euro Car Parks Ireland Ltd.
Medium: Internet (Company Website)
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10, 4.22, 4.23
The advertisers’ website on the Point Square parking page included a banner divided into four sections, with one section detailing the car park’s opening hours, another detailing the tariffs for parking, a third detailing contact details and a fourth that included a booking online link to a third-party website. Each section was in a different colour and the section detailing the car park’s tariffs stated:
€4.00 per hour
€14.00 evening rate from 6pm till midnight
€16.00 overnight rate from 6pm till 8am.”
The section that included the online booking link stated:
The name of a third-party booking site was listed.
Under the banner it stated:
“Please note that prebooking parking spaces can ONLY be carried out through the [third party booking service name] link above.”
The complainant considered that the advertised evening parking rate of €14 was misleading as they had not been able to book parking at that rate. The complainant used the online booking link and noted that the price quoted on the third party booking website was €16 plus fees and that after booking the total price paid, including a €2 surcharge, was €18.
The advertisers said that the complaint related to the costs when a customer chose to pre-book a parking space. They said that pre-booking for any car park generally added a premium as they had to pay commission and a space needed to be reserved to fill the need. They also said that once a customer clicked on the book online link to the third party booking website, the correct prices were displayed.
They advised that the ‘drive in’ price for evenings was €14 as advertised correctly.
Finally, they said that they had added the text “Note prebooking tariffs may vary” under the Tariffs on the website and noted that as some prebooking tariffs were lower than the casual rates, flexibility was required.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response.
The Committee noted that while the tariffs quoted on the website applied to the rate when a customer had not booked a space online, no indication had been stated in the advertising of this. The Committee also noted that the advertising had included a link to a booking website where customers choosing to pre-book a parking space were being charged an additional booking fee. In the absence of any indication that the prices quoted applied to drive in parking only, the Committee did not consider it unreasonable for a consumer to believe that spaces booked online would be charged at the same rate. In the circumstances the Committee considered that the advertising should have included a notification that online bookings may be subject to an additional booking charge. In the absence of such a notification, the Committee considered the advertising at the time of the complaint was in breach of Sections 4.1, 4.4 and 4.23 of the Code.
The advertising should not reappear in its current form.
The Complaints Committee told the advertisers to indicate that tariffs may vary and booking charges would apply when prebooking.