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Argos censured by ASA for fridges ad

Argos has been censured by the Advertising Standards Authority for a promotion on its website which stated that customers could save up to 20% on all refrigerators.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Argos censured by ASA for fridges ad

The censure follows a complaint from a customer who said that not all items in the retailer’s refrigeration range had been discounted.

In its defence, Argos said all products in the range had been reduced and it supplied spreadsheet information showing the price of each product prior to the promotion and the discounted price at the time of the promotion. It explained that more than 10% of the products were available with at least a 20% reduction and provided pricing calculations in support of that.

Argos added that its online system was locked to only display pricing reductions on products where the higher price had been charged for a minimum of 28 consecutive days, in line with guidance set out by the Department for Business Innovation & Skills.

The retailer also stated that text was included in the offer banner stating that prices listed online already included a discount. Therefore, it considered that this was sufficient to avoid customers being misled as to the discount offer.

The ASA noted that although some were not displayed with a discount or savings message, it appeared that all the products in the refrigeration range had been reduced and that more than 10% were reduced by the 20% headline saving.

Although the advert included text stating that all prices listed already included a discount, because the website referred to discounts on "all" products, the ASA said it considered that consumers would need to know what discount applied to each product in order to make an informed choice about which product to select.

The BIS guidelines recommend that a price used as a basis for a comparison should be the most recent price available for 28 days or more unless the basis of the comparison was made clear in the advert.

In its ruling the ASA said: "We noted that the higher price for some products had been available for 14 days prior to the offer and we considered that the absence of this time period from the ad meant that the basis of the price comparison on those products was not clear.

"Because the website did not display the discount applied to every product in the range, and because it did not make clear the basis of the price comparison on those products that had not been offered at the higher price for 28 consecutive days, we concluded that the savings claims were misleading." 

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