An advertising leaflet for Lidl included an advertisement for a home office desk. The advertisement included an image of the desk with a storage unit attached.
“Livarno Living Desk
116 x 75 x 60cm”
Underneath the Livarno Living Desk advertisement, there was an advertisement for a storage unit.
“Livarno Living Storage Unit
70 x 89 x 40”
An image of the storage unit was included. This storage unit had a black band across the top of the unit.
The complainant viewed the Lidl brochure and saw the advertisement for the Livarno Living Desk which featured an image of the desk with a storage unit attached, advertised at €49.99. The complainant visited their local Lidl store to purchase the desk and on purchasing noted that the storage unit was not included with the desk and had to be purchased separately. As the image in the brochure featured the desk with the storage unit attached for the advertised price of €49.99, the complainant considered that the advertising was misleading.
The advertisers stated that storage unit had been separately pictured, separately priced and that the dimensions for both the desk and the storage unit had been separately provided in the advertising for each product. They said that the desk had been clearly referenced in the imagery and the dimensions for the desk had been included, therefore, they did not consider that any reasonable consumer could mistakenly assume that the storage unit, which was depicted as being sold separately below the desk, was included as part of the desk.
The advertisers said that it was regrettable that a customer had in this instance appeared to overlook the separate advertisement for the storage unit. They said that they would accept the position that in the even the separate advertisement for the storage unit was not directly positioned under the desk that there might have been scope for a limited catchment of customers who did not note the dimensions of the product to incur an element of confusion, however, they considered that this was not the case in this instance.
The advertisers said that they used the image for illustrative purposes to depict a “home office” setup and how the two units blended harmoniously and complemented each other. While they acknowledged that both the desk and the storage unit had been featured in the image advertising the desk, the image had only referred to the desk and had only included the dimensions of the desk which they considered had indicated that the price referred to only applied to the desk. They said that their use of the image was not in any way an attempt to mislead or cause confusion to customers.
The advertisers referred to a notice contained on the rear of the leaflet which stated that pictures were for illustrative purposes only. They also stated that they had investigated the matter with their Customer Services Department and that they had received no other complaints regarding the matter. They said that they offered a change of mind refund policy up to 28 days after purchase, therefore, there was no possibility of any loss or detriment to a customer.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response.
The Committee noted that the image used to advertise the desk had included the storage unit attached. While they noted that the storage unit had been separately advertised underneath the desk image, the image of the storage unit included a black band across the top of it, while the image of the storage unit attached to the desk had not, therefore, they did not consider that it was clear that the two units were the same. In the circumstances the Committee considered that the overall impression created by the advertisement was that desk and storage unit were sold as one unit at the advertised price. In the circumstances the Committee considered that the advertisement was in breach of Section 4.1 of the Code.
The advertisement should not reappear in its current form again.