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Product: Motoring – Car Rental
Medium: Digital - Banner Advertising
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4c, 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10, 4.22, 4.23
A banner advertisement for Argus Car Hire appeared on a third party website. The advertisement featured the company’s branding with the image of a car and stated:
“Galway – City
Galway – City
A “Book Now!” button was positioned on the right hand side of the banner.
The complainant queried the availability of car hire at the advertised rate of €22. He said that he had attempted to get the rate but even if his booking was for a 2 hour hire, the lowest rate was €35.
The advertiser said that they advertised car rental rates which were the lowest daily rates available to specified locations. They said that these rates are based on a two week rental duration and a pickup date two months after the initial query date.
In regards to the availability of the advertised rate, they provided a list of available dates around the time that the complainant was attempting to book which showed that cars were available for hire for a 14 day period at the advertised rate of €22.
They said that as they did not have the details of dates and times the complainant wished to hire a car, they were unable to verify the duration of their car rental query, however, from the detail of their complaint, it would appear to them that the complainant believed that a shorter rental duration would also be eligible for the lower rate of €22. They said that the banner advertisement delivered to the complainant contained a format error and it should have stated that the price advertised was a daily rate. They said that the incorrect banner was on display for approximately one week and was immediately amended once it was identified. They said that fairness and transparency to the customer were always at the forefront of their priorities and they continuously reviewed their advertising banners to see if they can make them even clearer for customers so as to avoid any further confusion arising.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. The Committee noted that the advertisement should have stated “From €22/day” and that it had been amended once the error had been identified. The Committee considered that the two conditions required in order to be able to avail of the advertised rate, i.e. booking two months in advance and a minimum hire duration of 14 days, should have been indicated to prospective customers either by way of a reference to ‘terms and conditions’ with a link to the details or by explicitly including the conditions in the advertisement. The Committee considered that irrespective of the error in the original advertisement, the advertising was in breach of Sections 4.1, 4.4 and 4.22 of the Code.
The Committee noted that on receipt of the Executive’s draft Report, the advertiser had undertaken to ensure that the minimum booking period requirements and terms and conditions of any future displays were clear, fair and not misleading to the customer. In the light of this the Committee considered that no further action was required.