The ASA was alerted to the issue after an episode of the BBC’s Watchdog Live programme, which found that between August and November 2018, Boohoo had 14 sales advertised which featured a countdown clock attached to them. The adverts included one promotion which told customers: “Hurry – ends soon”.
Time-limited offers are implemented to put pressure on customers to buy quickly, however it was found that in the case of Boohoo, the time limit and pressure were false. Boohoo said it never intended to mislead and added that the promotions had been extended due to “customer demand”.
The ASA said: “Boohoo is breaking rules around sales promotions that we have investigated and ruled against previously, which is why this has been passed straight to our compliance team. Our team will work with the advertiser to ensure they bring their ad into line.
“Compliance have various tools at their disposal to make sure advertisers adhere to our rulings and the precedent set in previous cases where we’ve upheld on the same issues. In this specific instance, the use of a countdown clock is problematic if it misleadingly implies the offer is time-limited when that is not the case.”
A Boohoo spokesperson said: “At Boohoo, customer satisfaction is our utmost priority. We are focused on bringing our customers the latest fashions at the best prices and running promotions is one of many ways that we invest in our customer proposition.
“During the period August 2018 to November 2018 Boohoo ran a number of time-limited promotions. On the small number of occasions researchers for BBC Watchdog Live have identified, customer demand drove us to extend these offers and we did so to avoid disappointment.
“It is never our intention to mislead customers and we take full note of the BBC Watchdog’s inquiry. We are looking into our processes to ensure that further diligence is exercised in relation to future promotions of this nature.”