Recommended reading: Quoting RRPs in your ads

Mar 21st '24

We’ve all seen ads which compare the price of a product against the recommended retail price (RRP). But advertisers should exercise caution before making these types of claims, as comparisons with RRPs are likely to mislead if the RRP differs significantly from the price at which the product or service is generally sold.


With spring sales just around the corner, there is no time like the present for a brief reminder of the Dos and Don’ts when making RRP savings claims.


  • Don’t rely on RRPs solely given by the manufacturer: The ASA is likely to uphold complaints if marketers cannot demonstrate that the product was sold at the quoted RRP. In a 2022 ruling, Lidl could only point to the manufacturer’s website to evidence the RRP. This was not enough to show the RRP was the price the product was ‘generally sold’ at.
  • Don’t reference a RRP for products not yet launched: In 2017, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA)ruled that a price included in a pre-launch article didn’t demonstrate that the item was ‘generally sold’ at that price.
  • Do be aware of the difference between selling and advertising at a price: Complaints have been upheld for ads claiming to offer products on sale, where the advertiser could not show that sales had been made at the original price. In 2022, Happy Beds referenced the ads of other retailers to show that the quoted RRP was the ‘generally sold’ at price. But the quoted RRP had been discounted in each instance. The ASA said the quoted RRP was not the ‘generally sold’ at price.
  • The ‘generally sold’ price can be sector-dependent: The product and/or sector can influence what constitutes the ‘generally sold’ price. For example, large, seldom-bought items may be considered ‘generally sold’ if available in (and therefore purchased from) a small number of stores, which is unlikely to be the case for more frequently purchased products.
  • Do make sure the ‘generally sold’ price is not significantly different to the RRP: To substantiate their use of a RRP, Mothercare provided the ASA with a range of ads which advertised the product for sale at various price points across a range (including the quoted RRP in two instances). The other price points deviated from the quoted RRP by between 6% and 40%, which was deemed significant, and was not sufficient to demonstrate that the quoted RRP was the ‘generally sold’ at price.


For further information, take a look at Prices: Recommended retail prices (RRPs).


Source: Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP)


About CAP

The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) is the sister organisation of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and is responsible for writing the Advertising Codes.


Note: This advice is given by the CAP Executive about non-broadcast advertising. It does not constitute legal advice. It does not bind CAP, CAP advisory panels or the ASA.


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