ASA Ruling on The Carphone Warehouse Ltd.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a website claim from the Carphone Warehouse that it would check for the “UK’s Lowest Price” mobile deals so customers don’t have to.

The claim, which appeared on www.carphonewarehouse.co.uk in February 2016, stated “UK’S LOWEST PRICE^ WE CHECK SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO”. The small print said it was based on new connections on selected 4G tariffs.

Hutchison 3G UK Ltd who trade as the mobile operator Three UK challenged whether the following claims were misleading and could be substantiated:

  1. “UK’S LOWEST PRICE”; and
  2. “AT THE BEST PRICE”

Hutchison 3G UK understood the claims were based on a comparison with only a selection of competitors and it was not sufficiently clear what prices and products had been compared.

Carphone Warehouse acknowledged the complaint, but did not provide a substantive response.

The ASA considered that the claim gave the impression that Carphone Warehouse had compared the prices and offers of all UK retailers in order to ensure that the price they offered was the lowest, which was not the case, we concluded that the claim “UK’S LOWEST PRICE” was likely to mislead consumers.

Because they saw no evidence to substantiate the claim that Carphone Warehouse offered the best price, the ASA concluded that the claim “AT THE BEST PRICE” was also misleading

This is not the first Carphone Warehouse advert to be pulled by the ASA. In 2013 they were forced to pull another misleading advert that claimed to give a free Samsung Galaxy S4 with a new contract.

Another advert was pulled in 2012 for publishing unsubstantiated claims about Bemilo mobile network being the UK’s safest.

Action

The advert breached CAP Codes (Edition 12) rules: Misleading advertising, Substantiation, Qualification, Comparisons with identifiable competitors, Price comparisons.

The ad must not appear again in its current form, and ensure that they made the basis of their comparative claims clear and did not misleadingly imply that they applied to all their competitors if that was not the case.

If you are unsure how the rules fit within your marketing, we provide an advertising review service.

Contact us today to find how we can help you.

Author: Christopher Hall

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Read the full ASA ruling on the Carphone Warehouse here