Sports Direct has been ordered to make its delivery charges clearer to online customers after one of its ads was banned for using a “misleading” original price.
The sportswear retailer’s had website advertised a pair of Karrimor walking boots in February for £37, with a crossed out price of £84.99 next to it.
A shopper bought the boots in store and found that the price was £41.99, and that a label attached actually showed an earlier price of £79.99.
This prompted a complaint that the crossed-out higher price of £84.99 was misleading, and that it was not possible to buy the boots for £37 either in store or without paying a delivery charge.
Sports Direct argued that the higher price was a recommended retail price, and they had a price list from the manufacturer which showed the recommended price for the boots as £85.
The retailer also argued that the cost was a genuine selling price because the same boots were available on Karrimor’s website at £84.99.
Sports Direct added that customers could still buy the boots for £37 online plus the delivery or collection charge, which they said was clearly displayed online.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said 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,” ASA stated.
“Because we had not seen any such evidence, we concluded that the ad was misleading.”
ASA also said consumers would assume there would be no delivery cost for the boots already in stock in physical stores, and that they would cost £37 in shops rather than have the £41.99 price tag which the shopper paid.
“Because it was not possible to obtain the boots for £37, and because the ad did not make clear that £37 was an online price, before delivery, we concluded that the ad was misleading,” the authority said.
A Sports Direct spokesman said: “We pride ourselves on offering great prices on great products, however we are unable to comment on the ruling at this point in time.”