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Advertiser: Musgrave Group (SuperValu)
Medium: In-Store Promotional Material
ASAI Code 6th Edition: 2.9, 2.22, 2.24
The in-store promotion for SuperValu’s French wine sale offered a variety of French wines for half price. One of the wines included in the half price offer was:
“Excellence Saint Chinian 75cl Now €8.49”.
The complainant said that he had previously purchased the wine for €8.50 per bottle. He was therefore surprised to see the wine included in the half price offer with a price of €8.49. According to the complainant’s previous receipts, which he had retained from the purchase of the wine four months previously, the only saving which a customer could make was 1c. He therefore considered the promotion to be misleading.
The advertisers said that their policy has always been to establish a price for at least 28 successive days in the previous three months before stating that an item had been reduced to half price. It would appear from their investigations that the policy had not been applied in this case.
The advertisers said that the mix-up occurred between their Trading and Marketing departments. They had intended to issue the promotion as being “half suppliers recommended price” but unfortunately the advertising material had not said this, and had only contained a bubble with the words “Half Price”. The word “recommended” had been omitted at some stage in the process. They said that the wine did have a supplier’s recommended price of €16.99 and their understanding was that it had been on sale in other European countries for this price, once taxes were equalised. Notwithstanding this, the advertisers said that they had failed to adhere to their normal policy and it had not been established that the wine had been sold at a particular price for 28 days.
The advertisers went on to say that since 1st May the wine in question had been on sale across all SuperValu stores at a recommended retail price of €16.99. From the 29th May it was their intention to again reduce the price to €8.49. This reduction had they said been planned independently of receiving the complaint in relation to their previous promotion.
The advertisers offered their thanks to the complainant for bringing the matter to their attention and said that should he wish to be identified to them that they would like to apologise directly for what had happened.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. The Committee also noted the guidance available from the National Consumer Agency (NCA) and considered that it provided an appropriate benchmark for guidance in this type of case1 . They accepted that while an error had occurred with the promotional material in relation to the offer that the wine in question had not been on sale at the higher price for the required period of time and they therefore upheld the complaint under Sections 2.22 and 2.24 of the Code.
1 Consumer Protection Act 2007, Guidance for the Retail Sector on Price Promotions related matters.
As the promotional material had already been amended no further action was required in this case.