Mobile phone and electricals retailer Carphone Warehouse (CPW) has today had its knuckles wrapped by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for two “misleading” press adverts released earlier this year.
Complaints were made about the company’s marketing of the iPhone 4, with consumers arguing that it was wrong for CPW to imply that it was selling the handset for just £13.99 per month, that its claim to have offered the “UK’s lowest price” for the item was misleading and that it was incorrect that it would match prices from all competitors.
ASA upheld the complaints and banned them from being broadcast in the same format again, saying the retailer had not made itself clear that the aforementioned price was related to a insurance service plan available in its stores rather than a monthly tariff and that unpublished quotes from rival retailers were not matched.
CPW contested the decision, arguing that both ads followed industry guidelines and contained small print explaining their claims in greater detail.
In a statement published today, ASA commented: “CPW said the complainant could be correct that a competitor was cheaper, if they had been offered a price by a retailer that had not been published; for example, a special rate or discount in-store that was not usually offered or advertised.
“CPW said, however, it would be impossible to monitor unpublished prices and therefore they made clear in the footnote that the comparison was based only on published prices.
“They said they did not believe that the comparison was lessened by being based only on published prices, because they also matched unpublished prices with their price promise.”
The mobile phone specialist joins grocery giant Tesco, home & DIY business B&Q and computer products trader PC World on the list of retailers recently having ads banned by the ASA due to confusing claims.
ASA added: “We told CPW to ensure they held adequate substantiation for future price claims and that such statements were clear and were not misleading.”