Login Or Subscribe?
Home Rulings LOOT.CO.ZA / SAMSUNG UA43MU7000 UHD TV/ MARTYN ALLATT / 2018 – 7662F

LOOT.CO.ZA / SAMSUNG UA43MU7000 UHD TV/ MARTYN ALLATT / 2018 – 7662F

Mr Allatt lodged a consumer complaint against an advertising that appeared at https://www.ananzi.co.za/ads/computers-software/monitor-gauteng.htlml?s=relevance&ad_price_from=1900&ad_to=6000&usp=true

A banner appeared on the page in question that stated, inter alia,

"Loot.co,za” and showed a tv monitor indicating the price as follows
 "-14%
UHD TV R5,999

COMPLAINT

The Complainant submitted that the advertising was misleading as when he clicked on the advertisement to purchase the TV, it took him to the www.loot.co.za website where the price had increased to R6,7999 (sic).

RELEVANT CLAUSE OF THE CODE OF ADVERTISING PRACTICE

In light of the complaint Clause 4.2.1 (Misleading claims) of Section II of the Code was considered relevant.  

RESPONSE

The Respondent submitted that it has no affiliation with www.ananzi.co.za. Further it has checked with its marketing department which has confirmed that the images being advertised may be Criteo pop-ups. 

The Respondent alerted the Directorate to the fact that the prices marked on those Criteo images may not be update as quickly as it does on the original source which is Loot.co.za. It may take up to 24 hours for this happen, therefore this is not direct marketing from its side. It submitted that inconvenience caused, even though it apologises, is unfortunately out of its control.

In order to obtain clarity regarding the nature of the advertising, the Directorate contacted Criteo regarding the Respondent’s response to the complaint. Criteo confirmed the Respondent’s response and added that the there is a disclaimer on all the banners shown. The disclaimer states, inter alia, that "Disclaimer – Prices are subject to change. While stock lasts.” Criteo also confirmed that the advertising is paid for by the Respondent.

ASA DIRECTORATE RULING

The ASA Directorate considered the relevant documentation submitted by the respective parties.

Clause 4.2.1 of Section II states that "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”. 

It appears to be common cause that the advertised price of R 5 999 was not available when the Complainant clicked on the advertisement. The Respondent acknowledged that the information in pop-ups might be late in updating, but denied any ability to control same.

The Directorate starts by noting that this is a typical affiliate marketer situation. Loot instructs Criteo, as an affiliate marketer, to run advertising on its behalf and generate click throughs. Criteo is paid by Loot for this service.

In Takealot.com / Trampoline 3.6M/ Andrea Rheeder/ 2017-7093F (30 January 2018), the Directorate said:

"If the Respondent uses third party advertisers, then the Respondent must ensure that checks and balances are in place to ensure that such advertisers only display correct information. The reality is that it is the Respondent who benefits from the traffic flow to its website, and the Respondent who must take responsibility for the actions of the third party advertiser – in much the same way as an advertiser cannot hide behind the defence that their advertising agency made a mistake. The Directorate also notes that, while the decisions of the Wireless Applications Service Providers’ Association (WASPA) are not binding on it, the above approach is in line with WASPA’s approach to affiliate marketers.”

The Respondent cannot therefore deny any responsibility for the advertising based on the fact that it is produced by an affiliate marketer. If the advertising is misleading, the responsibility remains with the advertiser.

That being said, the advertisement in question does clearly display the word "*Disclaimer” in a dark block that stands out from the rest of the advertisement. Criteo explained that if one hovers over the word, the full wording appears: "Disclaimer – Prices are subject to change. While stocks last”. This alerts the consumer immediately to the fact that the price may have changed and/or that stock at the advertised price may have run out.

Given this, it is the Directorate’s view that the Respondent’s advertising is not in breach of Clause 4.2.1 of Section II of the Code.    

The complaint is dismissed.


Previous Ruling Next Ruling

© 2018 ASA. All rights reservedDeveloped and Maintained by JHNet Web Development