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Advertiser: Musgrave Group (SuperValu)
Medium: Direct Mail
ASAI Code 6th Edition: 1.6(C), 2.7, 2.22, 2.24
A SuperValu direct mailing enclosed two €12 off an €80 spend vouchers for use over two consecutive weeks.
“Week 1: Thur 26th February – Wed 4th March 2015
You get €12 off when you spend €80 in your local SuperValu store
Online Code: XX-XXX-XXX
Week 2: Thur 5th March – Wed 11th March 2015
You get €12 off when you spend €80 in your local SuperValu store
Online Code: XX-XXX-XXX”
Terms and Conditions of the vouchers stated:
“This voucher entitles the holder to the discount value shown overleaf, if the minimum spend as stated overleaf is spent in SuperValu in one transaction during the period of its validity. This voucher is valid during the dates stated overleaf and can only be redeemed during this period. To redeem this voucher either (a) present the voucher with your Real Rewards card instore at time of payment or (b) when prompted, insert the online code provided overleaf when shopping on www.supervalu.ie. This voucher is redeemable online for selected stores only. Only one voucher can be redeemed per transaction and vouchers cannot be redeemed for cash…..”
Also included on the mailing was a free home delivery voucher:
“Free Home Delivery
“Get your shopping delivered straight to your door, FREE OF CHARGE, between Thursday 26th February and Wednesday 11th March 2015 when you spend €75 online.
Shop online at SuperValu.ie and enter the code 9… … at the online checkout to receive free delivery or pick-up when you spend €75. This is in addition to our great €15 off for first time customers when you spend €75 or more. If you are also entering the online codes on the attached vouchers, just click 'Apply' after entering in each code.
Terms & Conditions: Vouchers are for online use only and cannot be redeemed in store. Free Delivery Voucher cannot be applied retrospectively. You must spend €75 or more in a single transaction to qualify for free delivery. Voucher validity dates are Thursday 26th February to Wednesday 11th March 2015 and apply to date of delivery/pick-up rather than time of ordering. Only one voucher valid per transaction per customer. €15 off only applies if it is your first time shopping online with SuperValu and you have €75 or more in your basket after vouchers have been applied. Enter voucher code at Online Checkout to avail of the offer. Vouchers cannot be used for the purchase of any of the following goods: medicines, tobacco products and infant formula.”
The complainant received the mailing and noted that she could use the €12 vouchers against her shopping when she spent over €80 over two consecutive weeks. She also noted the free delivery voucher with a spend of €75. She noted that both vouchers could be used online and that the free home delivery voucher stated “If you are also entering the online codes on the attached vouchers, just click ‘Apply’ after entering in each code”. The complainant began her shop on the SuperValu website and generated a basket of shopping worth €95. She expected to be able to use one of the €12 off vouchers as she had spent over €80 together with both the free home delivery voucher and the €15 off for first time online shoppers, as her remaining balance after the €12 reduction was more than the required €75 spend. When she was unable to apply all the vouchers she made enquiries with SuperValu and she was advised that she would have to first spend €80 to use one of her €12 off vouchers and then a further €75 to avail of the free home delivery voucher. As the direct mailing had not made any reference to this condition, she considered the mailing was misleading.
SuperValu provided a sample of the mailing to ASAI and pointed out that the terms and conditions of the free home delivery offer clearly stated “Only one voucher valid per customer per transaction”. They said that this does clarify that this is in addition to the €15 off offer for first time on-line customers if you spend €75 or more. In regards to the €12 voucher, they said that this was clearly intended to be used only in a certain week and also included the wording “only one voucher can be redeemed per transaction” in the terms and conditions on the rear of the relevant portion of the letter. While they had some sympathy with the complainant as there were a number of offers on the same communications, they had clearly stated that only one voucher could be used per transaction in each case. They stressed that they had no intention to mislead. They noted that the complainant thought that she would have been able to use the vouchers cumulatively and to that extent their terms failed to clearly communicate the message. They pointed out, however, that this was the only complaint they had received in regards to this mailing.
As they value all customer feedback they proposed to change their terms and conditions for future communications.
The Executive requested further information from SuperValu regarding the proposed amendments to the terms and conditions. After a delay a response to the further enquiries was received.
SuperValu stated that before receipt of the complaint, all their offers were intended to operate separately, however, following discussions with their IT department and their loyalty team, they discovered that it was possible to ensure all offers operated together with the proviso that where a minimum threshold applies, this threshold has to be met cumulatively. Therefore, if a customer uses a voucher with a minimum spend of €75 to get free home delivery and also wanted to use a voucher that gives €15 off on a spend of more than €75, the customer would have to spend a minimum of €150 to avail of both offers. They provided amended wording of the terms and conditions to the ASAI. They requested confirmation that the wording was sufficiently clear.
The Complaints Committee noted the complaint and the response received, however, they also expressed concern at the advertisers’ delay in providing further information to the Executive. The Committee examined the direct mailing and while noting and appreciating the proposed amendments offered by the advertiser, they considered that the original wording was ambiguous. In the circumstances the Committee upheld the complaint on Sections 2.7 and 2.24 of the Code.
The Committee noted the proposed amendments provided by the advertiser and on the basis that the wording is adopted for all future similar offers, no further action was required.