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Product: Travel (Hotel Accommodation)
Advertiser: Bite A Bargain Limited (escapes.ie)
Medium: Internet (Company Website)
Advertising on the website www.escapes.ie a subsidiary of Bite A Bargain, offered the following deal:
“Luxury 4 Star Break: Only €65 for 1 Night (or €120 for 2 nights) for Two People including a Cocktail Each on Arrival, Unlimited Access to the Leisure Centre, Full Irish Breakfast Each Morning and Late Checkout at the Award Winning Athlone Springs Hotel (value up to €260).”
Under the 15 bulleted ‘Highlights’ tab the following information was included:
“Valid 7 days a week – including the weekends!
In the Fine Print Tab, the following information was given.
“Saturday night supplement of €20 per room applies.”
The complainant said that as the offer had specifically referred to the fact that weekends were included in the deal, he went ahead and purchased the voucher. However, when he received his voucher, he discovered that there was a €20 supplement should he wish to stay in the hotel on a Saturday night. When he queried this with the advertisers, he was informed that this information had been provided in the “fine print”. The complainant considered it to be blatantly misleading to contradict the information provided in the main highlights of the offer with further information in the fine print.
The advertisers failed to respond to the complaint.
The Complaints Committee considered the details of the complaint and expressed their concern at the advertisers’ failure to respond in the matter. They reminded them that there is an onus on advertisers to ensure that their advertising is in conformity with the Code.
The Complaints Committee noted that contradictory information had been given in the advertising; that the offer was available at weekends (in the Highlights Tab) and that a Saturday night supplement applied (in the Fine Print Tab). They considered that this was likely to mislead and breach Sections 2.7, 2.24 and 3.16 of the Code.
The Committee reminded advertisers that information provided in the small print should not contradict the main information in marketing communications.