In support of National Consumer Week 26 Nov – 2 Dec, #FairDeliveryDay and the UK Consumer Protection Partnership’s www.deliverylaw.uk platform, the Advertising Standards Authority are reminding online retailers to make sure their delivery claims don’t mislead consumers because of where they live.
As more and more people opt for the convenience of shopping online to pick up a bargain on Cyber Monday, retailers should make sure they don’t make absolute delivery claims if they can’t fulfil the commitment.
Consumers in parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland are often subject to additional charges to have goods delivered but some online retailers are not making these surcharges clear and upfront in their advertising. There are also misleading unconditional “UK delivery” claims when the charge or service stated does not apply across the UK.
Earlier this year, the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) issued an Enforcement Notice on Advertised Delivery Restrictions and Surcharges which is applicable to all relevant advertisers in the UK.
The Enforcement Notice requires advertisers to take immediate action to ensure their advertising sticks to the advertising rules. Failure to do so will result in targeted enforcement action to help maintain a level playing field amongst businesses and protect consumers. This may include – where advertisers are unwilling to work with them – referral to COSLA in Scotland and the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland for consideration of legal action.
Since April, CAP has sent out 243 Enforcement Notices. The first batch of 116 Enforcement Notices saw a 97% compliance rate following two monitoring sweeps. CAP has almost completed its second monitoring sweep and all advertisers contacted so far have made changes to comply. This has included a number of cases where delivery was extended across the UK, bringing the Highlands, Northern Ireland and other postcodes into “free UK delivery” claims.
Guy Parker, Chief Executive of the Advertising Standards Authority, said: “Consumers shopping online on Cyber Monday shouldn’t have to worry about being hit with a delivery surcharge or be told a delivery cannot be made to their area at the end of their shopping experience. They need to be told upfront at the start of the customer journey. Online retailers must fulfil the delivery claims they make or we will take action against them.”
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