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Home Rulings DISCHEM / PURITY POUCHES / MOHAMMED BELIM / 2018-8179F

DISCHEM / PURITY POUCHES / MOHAMMED BELIM / 2018-8179F

Mr Belim lodged a consumer complaint against the Respondent’s email advertisement containing information about various products on offer.

As part of the promotion, one of the deals states the following:

"Great deals for feeding and changing your baby
Feeding and nappy time with your baby does not have to be stressful. Enjoy these great deals and more.
Baby care
Valid until 12 August 2018.
Purity Pouches
110ml assorted
SAVE R20.95
R9.95 each
Available instore.”

COMPLAINT

The Complainant submitted that the advertisement is misleading as it categorically states "SAVE R20.65" on this specific product, which gives the impression that this product is normally priced at R 30,60. The advert is simply unethical as the normal price in most stores for the Purity Pouches is R9,99. 

RELEVANT CLAUSE OF THE CODE OF ADVERTISING PRACTICE

In light of the complaint, the Directorate considered Clauses 4.2.1 of Section II (Misleading claims) to be relevant.

RESPONSE

The Respondent thanked the complainant for bringing this error to its attention and submitted that the advertisement in question was as a result of an error. It explained that it investigated the matter and found that due to an error in its marketing department with the vetting and proof reading of the media display material the "deal pricing label” was not included in the version of the advertisement that was published. 

The Respondent submitted that the deal was intended to be a bulk savings deal, selling 7 Purity Pouches at R49,00 resulting in savings amounting to R20,65. A copy of the print version with the correct deal pricing label was submitted. The Respondent also submitted that it sincerely regrets omitting the correct pricing deal label and apologises to the consumer for the error. It submitted that it was never its intention to mislead the public. 

ASA DIRECTORATE RULING

The ASA Directorate considered all the relevant documentation submitted by the Complainant.

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”.

From the submissions at hand, it would appear that this issue arose because the Marketing department made a pricing error in the email advertisement. However, the Respondent also indicated that in order to avoid the same issue happening again, it will have all print and on line advertisements pre-approved by two people, one being the department head, before anything is released.

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

Given the above, the Directorate accepts the Respondent’s submissions as an undertaking, as they have instituted remedial action to address it. 

The undertaking is accepted on condition the advertisement is not used again in the format complained against.

It is standard for the ASA to order the withdrawal of misleading advertising. Given the nature of the Respondent’s advertising, the promotion date has already passed. The Respondent is advised to correctly indicate the retail prices for products advertised on special going forward.

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