The advertising on Pigsback.com offered the following:
“1 Night (€125) or 2 Nights (€289) Stay for 2 People including Full Irish Breakfast and VIP Spa access at the 5-Star Fota Island Resort, Cork. Plus receive a Spa Treatment with the 2 Night Option.
Escape to your own private island with today’s amazing offer at the 5-Star Fota Island Resort, Co. Cork:
Option 1: €125 instead of €225 for 1 Night stay for 2 People including Full Irish Breakfast & VIP Spa access each
Option 2: €289 instead of €740 for 2 Nights stay for 2 People including Full Irish Breakfast, VIP Spa Passes each & a Spa Treatment (Choice of Hydrotherapy bath or Envelopment Wrap each) …”
For more information, visit: www.fotaisland.ie”
The terms and conditions attached to the offer referred to the fact that:
“The voucher is valid until 20th December 2014
Valid 7 days, subject to availability and hotel allocation.”…
The complainant considered the advertising to be misleading. When she tried to book the hotel for a particular weekend, she was informed that while there were rooms available in the hotel, the allocation of rooms to the particular deal had sold out. When she asked if there was room availability for another weekend throughout the voucher validity period, she was informed that there was no availability left. The complainant queried how the advertisers could refer to the offer being valid for seven days and continue to do so, if this was not the case
The advertisers said they were disappointed to receive the complaint. The offer in question had, they said, been running on their website from 2nd October until 23rd October 2014 and was valid as advertised until 20th December 2014. As with any promotion of this nature they said they always worked closely with their hotel partners to ensure that there was sufficient availability to cover the likely demand.
The advertisers said that when the promotion in question commenced there was sufficient availability to cover the likely demand created by the offer.
Once consumers purchased the vouchers, however, and made their bookings, availability changed and some dates were no longer available to book. In this particular case they said they had clearly indicated the validity dates of the offer and that it was subject to “availability and hotel allocation.” They said that they always provided a refund to their customers who failed to avail of an offer purchased.
The advertisers provided the Authority with figures for the number of rooms which had been allocated for the duration of the promotion.
Complaint not upheld.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. They noted the information provided about the allocation of rooms and they considered the advertisers had demonstrated that they had sufficient availability of rooms to meet the likely demand created by their advertising. They also considered that the marketing communication had clearly indicated that rooms were “subject to availability and hotel allocation.” The Committee did not consider that the advertising had breached the requirements of the Code.
No further action was required in this case.