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‘Misleading’ Sports Direct ad reprimanded by ASA

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a Sports Direct ad for “misleading” customers about the original price of a product, and warned the firm to make its delivery charges to online customers clearer.

The sportswear retailer’s website was found to be promoting a pair of Karrimor walking boots for a price of £37 with the ‘original’ price shown as £84.99.

The ASA said that in February a customer in store bought the boots for a price of £41.99 and a label showing the original price as £79.99. A complaint was then made claiming the crossed-out higher price of £84.99 was misleading, and it was determined that it was not possible to obtain the product at the £37 price either in-store or online without a delivery charge.

Sports Direct said the crossed out-higher price for the boots was a recommended retail price (RRP) and that it was in possession of the price list from the manufacturer of the boots.

Sports Direct said it believed it could demonstrate the price was a genuine selling price in the market as the boots had been available from 19 January 2018, and continued to be available on Karrimor’s website at the price of £84.99.

It added it was possible for consumers to purchase the boots at £37 online, plus the delivery or collection charge, which they said was clearly displayed.

However the ASA upheld the complaint stating: “The ASA noted that Sports Direct had intended the price to relate to the RRP of the product. However, there was nothing in the ad to indicate that was the case, and in the absence of such an indication, we considered that consumers would understand that the crossed-out price of £84.99 was the usual selling price of the boots at the time the ad appeared, from which Sports Direct were offering a reduction.

“We therefore expected to see evidence to demonstrate that £84.99 was the price at which the boots were usually sold by Sports Direct. Because we had not seen any such evidence, we concluded that the ad was misleading.”

The ASA also concluded that while the information of delivery charges was displayed in order for consumers to view it they were required to consumers to “scroll down, which they would not need to do in order to add the product to their basket”.  

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