Sports Direct has warned about its advertising of discounted products after regulators banned "misleading" and "unsubstantiated" savings claims.
The sports retailer's website advertised a Puma Arsenal footbal shirt for £42 in February, stating the price represented a £17.99 saving. However, consumers noted that the product had never been sold on the Sports Direct website at the higher price and so claimed the savings were misleading.
Sports Direct defended that the £59.99 claim was based on recommended retail price(RRP) of the shirt and provided a list showing a £60 RRP from Puma.
The same tactic has been repeatedly used by the retailer for other clubs, demonstrating a lower price than their RRP.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) noted that consumers were likely to interpret the higher prices as the price at which the kit was usually sold on the retailer's website.
"Because the evidence provided by Sportsdirect.com related to the prices of the featured kit, and other similar products, offered on other websites, we did not consider that it was adequate in demonstrating that the kit advertised was usually sold at £59.99 on their own website and that the savings claim represented genuine savings against that usual selling price" the ASA said.
"We therefore concluded that the price claim '£59.99' and the savings claim were misleading."
It ruled that the ad must not appear again in its current form, adding: "We told Sportsdirect.com to ensure that they did not make savings claims that were likely to be understood as being based on the prices at which the products were usually sold, unless they held adequate evidence to substantiate those claims."