If you, like me, buy your toilet roll in bulk from Groupon you may be interested to hear that the Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that one of their recent offers was not as peachy as it appeared.

Groupon promoted an offer of 60 rolls of Cusheen quilted lavender toilet paper for £11.99, stating a difference of 64% next to a struck-through figure of £33.31. How could anyone not go potty for something comfortable, aromatic and yet so bargainous?

Well one punter was rubbed up the wrong way when she was left feeling not quite as flush as expected, and so made a cheeky attempt to wipe the smile off their face by complaining to the ASA that it was misleading to say that prices have been slashed in this way.

Groupon probably found the complaint to be a pain in the, erm, neck, but they did have some answers up their sleeve. In their defence they pointed to some small print towards the bottom of the product page which informed eagle-eyed readers that the original value was based on the online price of their supplier, as checked in June 2017.

However, upon further probing by the ASA their case unravelled. Advertisers must hold documentary evidence to back up such claims before they are made, but Groupon only provided three invoices from non-consecutive days in May. Whilst these did indeed show a selling price by the supplier of £33.31, they were insufficient to demonstrate that this was their normal bog-standard selling price as necessary. The ASA also ruled that Groupon’s explanation of the price comparison should have been more prominently presented and closer to the savings claim.

This no doubt left Groupon down in the dumps, and they have been told to change how they present price comparisons in future. The bottom line for them and everybody else is that this highlights two important buts:

  • you need not just any old documentary evidence to substantiate the claims in your marketing, but the right sort of evidence; and
  • small print can be useful, but you have to use it properly.

Otherwise your advertising campaign could hit the skids, or go down the pan altogether.

For further information relating to the points raised in this article, please contact Ben Clay, Senior Associate in our Intellectual Property Team.

Please note this information is provided by way of example and may not be complete and is certainly not intended to constitute legal advice. You should take bespoke advice for your circumstances.

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