The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned another VictoriaPlum.com ad due to “misleading” claims.
Bathstore submitted a complaint to the ASA in September 2015 after a VictoriaPlum.com TV and website ad claimed that its prices were “Up to 40% cheaper than Bathstore”.
VictoriaPlum.com stated in their terms and conditions that the claim was supported by an “independent price check on comparable products”.
However, only 176 of the 2,300 comparable products were used to substantiate the claim.
In a statement, the ASA said: “We understood that Victoria Plum’s website listed thousands of bathroom products, therefore 176 items represented a very small proportion of items overall. We considered that this number of products which Victoria Plum said was up to 40% cheaper than Bathstore was likely to contradict the overall impression created by the ads that a significant proportion of products would be cheaper than Bathstore at the quoted saving.
“Because Victoria Plum’s ads suggested a significant proportion of their products were lower in price than comparable products from Bathstore, which was not the case, we concluded the claims were misleading and had not been substantiated”.
The ASA has previously banned three other VictoriaPlum.com ads after receiving claims that the ads were misleading to customers.
Steve Collinge, managing director of Insight Retail Group, believes the bans will have little effect on the wider issue. He said: “The guys at the ASA are of course very busy policing the entire UK advertising industry, but yet another small slap for Victoria Plum from this toothless organisation, is unlikely to have any effect.
“This is not a complicated problem, if a retailer attempts to make a comparison against another retailer, then surely, there must be an effective process where this is approved beforehand, not just a meaningless slap on the wrist, months after the event, once the damage has been done.
“Let’s be honest, what Victoria Plum are doing with their incorrect comparisons with competitors, they’re false claims of being the UK’s No.1 online bathroom retailer and creating false retail prices to create deep discount sales, is fundamentally wrong. Even when the ASA upholds a complaint against a retailer, how many consumers are actually aware of this and would the bathroom industry even be aware, if it wasn’t for the work of media websites who find this stuff?
“Retailers acting this way are conning consumers into buying from their businesses and in the process damaging other retailers reputations. In our view, they should be banned from advertising for a set period or forced to publish a high profile apology on the homepage of their website, which should stay in place for at least a month.
“In the meantime, here’s a suggestion for you Victoria Plum, why don’t you just play fairly and behave? After all, big brother is watching you now.”