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Home Rulings BUILDERS WAREHOUSE / LG MICROWAVE / RUTH DALLAS / 2018-8016F

BUILDERS WAREHOUSE / LG MICROWAVE / RUTH DALLAS / 2018-8016F

Mrs Dallas lodged a consumer complaint against the Respondent’s website advertising promoting LG Microwaves.

The advertisement features an image of the LG Microwave and states the following:

                            "LG MS3040S Microwave Oven - Silver (30L) 573651
                                                            R1,320 each...”

COMPLAINT

The Complainant submitted that she has been trying to purchase one of the microwaves on promotion for the past 3 weeks, but was told that the store is still waiting for stock. She argued that the Respondent has never had stock of the advertised products, and that the advertising question is misleading to consumers

RELEVANT CLAUSE OF THE CODE OF ADVERTISING PRACTICE

In light of the complaint the following clauses of the Code were taken into consideration:
  • Section II, Clause 4.2.1 – Misleading claims
  • Section III, Clause 31 – Non-availability of advertised products

RESPONSE

The Respondent submitted that it investigated this matter and found out that the lack of stock is because these microwaves have been discontinued by the supplier and, as a result, all stores are out of stock. It indicated that the advert has been removed from its website and will not advertise the product going forward unless stock becomes available again.

It also denied the allegation that the advertisement is misleading, arguing that the advert unintentionally remained on its website beyond the availability of the product concerned. The Respondent submitted that it did not advertise the unavailable product as means of assessing the likely public demand. 


ASA DIRECTORATE RULING

The ASA Directorate has considered all the relevant documentation submitted by the parties.

Clause 4.2.1 of Section II of the Code states, "Advertisements should not contain any statement or visual presentation which, directly or by implication, omission, ambiguity, inaccuracy, exaggerated claim or otherwise, is likely to mislead the consumer”.

Clause 31 of Section III states, inter alia, that "Advertisements should not be submitted for publication unless the advertiser has reasonable grounds for believing that it can supply any demand likely to be created by the advertising”.

The ASA has a long-standing principle which holds that where an advertiser provides an unequivocal undertaking to withdraw or amend its advertising in a manner that addresses the concerns raised, the undertaking may, at the discretion of the ASA, be accepted without considering the merits of the matter.

The Respondent has removed the advertising in question.

This undertaking appears to address the concerns raised by the Complainant, and it is therefore accepted on condition that the advertisement is not used again in the current format in future.

The Respondent’s attention is also drawn to the provisions of Clause 15.5 of the Procedural Guide, which effectively requires it to withdraw the advertisement in question from any and all media in which it may appear.



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