Boohoo has been accused of “breaking rules” by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after an investigation found its countdown sales were “misleading”.
Watchdog Live, the BBC’s investigative programme, recorded 14 sales advertised on the fashion retailer’s website between August and November this year which included a countdown clock.
It found that all of the sales, which put pressure on consumers to purchase items quickly, saw the clocks reset immediately after the timers ran out.
Although Boohoo defended the sales, arguing that certain offers were extended due to consumer demand, the ASA ruled that they were misleading as they were not genuinely time-limited.
“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,” the ASA told Watchdog Live.
“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 told the programme: “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.”