Four complainants who had attempted to take up the offer which stated “Apple iPhone XR £36.00 P/M free handset 100GB data cyber monday”, and were later told their order could not be processed, challenged whether the promotion breached the regulator’s code.
The retailer told the ASA that “unfortunately” there was a backlog of credit checks caused by a “high volume of orders created by the deal”, which it said resulted in “system issues” that led to customers failing the credit check even if they had a good credit score.
Carphone Warehouse said that in the result of a failed credit check, customers were able to call the retailer and ask them to re-run the check, in the event they passed the order was processed, however if they failed a second time their order was cancelled.
The retailer said it had “worked with the network provider to resolve the issues experienced” and added that it provided an email address for customers who had been impacted, which it says “resulted in many previously declined transactions converting to a sale”. Carphone Warehouse also provided the ASA with a screenshot of its website where it explained that “orders were being delayed and that their team were working hard to clear the backlog”.
The Code of Advertising Practice (CAP) states that: “If promoters relied on being able to meet the estimated response but were unable to supply demand for a promotional offer because of an unexpectedly high response or some other anticipated factor outside their control, they must ensure relevant timely communication with applicants and consumers.”
While the regulator made note of the retailers attempts to notify customers, it said the statements regarding the issues came “after the promotional period” adding that it felt the Carphone Warehouse had “made no attempt to notify individually customers whose transactions had been declined”.
The ASA concluded that because the retailer “did not ensure relevant timely communication with applicants and consumers under the circumstances”, it was in breach of the CAP. The regulator told the Carphone Warehouse that the “ad must not appear again in its current form”, adding that if it was unable to supply demand it must “ensure relevant timely communication with applicants”.