Advertising watchdogs have revealed that certain discount voucher codes have been misleading
by Katy Murcutt - Paralegal
27 August 2011, filed under Consumer
The advertising watchdog in the UK has said to have resolved more than 50 individual cases which involve adverts for discount vouchers since March of this year, the watchdog have stated.
The ASA ( Advertising Standards Authority) stated that 53 cases have been looked into against coupon advertisers in less than a six month period, with a massive 29 cases which involve the widely known consumer voucher operator Groupon. Currently Groupon has an impressive 6 million customers.
In four out of five adjudications where the complaints for Groupon were upheld the ASA discovered that the advertisements had been totally misleading.
Advertising which is misleading is strictly prohibited under the rules for the UK advertising. And the rules which govern the printed adverts are clearly laid out in the Code of Non broadcast Advertising in the UK, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing ( also known as the CAP Code) while the BCAP Code says the direct rules for adverts which are broadcast.
Iain Connor, an expert in advertising, works for the law firm Out-law has said that voucher operators should also pay much more attention on the availability of many of the products.
The CAP Code has said that generally the goods or services which cannot be supplied should never be advertised and that organisations should alwys advertise goods or service on the understanding that they will be able to meet the impending demand for them, or at least have a good enough explanation why they have not been able to. The BCAP Code says that any adverts must not mislead customers by omitting restrictions on the products availability.
The most recent misleading advert for Groupon, the ASA located an email for a deal of the day voucher for having your teeth braced and whitened. The voucher in the email promised the receivers of the email a deal to pay up front £98 which triggers a massive £1650 discount on the treatment for this. The small print then stated that the people who take up this offer would have to pay the £3,500 treatment cost, which is the remaining balance. The ASA stated that the email was deliberately unclear and was very confusing which made the voucher misleading.
Groupon denied these claims and said it always checked that the companies its coupons featured were totally legitimate and the advertisements were not misleading, The Times have said.
The Office of Fair Trading have also criticised Markco Media because their face book page for Groupola contained many positive comments from someone who later was found out to be employed by Groupon. This activity is known as astroturfing, as it has fake grass roots which support a service or product.
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