Tweet by TV personality held by ASA to be
Gemma Collins visited Toni & Guy for a hair appointment.
They decided to waive the cost of their services. She was pleased
with the service, so they suggested that she tweeted about it and
agreed to her suggestion that she should mention a discount. The
tweets were compiled by Miss Collins on the spur of the moment:
they extolled her treatment and mentioned the discount. A complaint
was made that these tweets were marketing communications and should
have been identified as such. Toni & Guy maintained that the
tweets were not part of any formal advertising campaign and the
mention of a discount made it clear that they were marketing
The ASA upheld the complaint. It considered that the average
Twitter user would follow a number of people on the site and they
would receive a number of tweets throughout the day. The CAP Code
required ads to be obviously identifiable as marketing
communications. The tweets encouraged users to quote
"#gemma" but, in the context of the whole tweets, users
could have overlooked the significance of that. In the absence of
an identifier such as "#ad", the ASA considered the
tweets were not obviously identifiable as Toni & Guy marketing
communications and therefore concluded that they breached the
Comment. Companies should be aware
that the CAP Code extends to Twitter and therefore can cover
informal marketing of the nature shown in this adjudication.
Website prices must be inclusive of VAT unless all
consumers do not pay VAT or can recover VAT
In an adjudication concerning two hotel booking websites which
listed prices exclusive of VAT, the ASA found that the prices were
misleading and in breach of the CAP Code. It issued a reminder that
prices should always be shown inclusive of VAT unless all consumers
to whom the price claim was addressed paid no VAT or could recover
VAT. Even then, exclusive prices need to state prominently the
amount or rate of VAT that is payable.
Guidelines on use of the word
The ASA has issued guidance on user of the word "free"
in relation to products or services:
Products or services can only be described as "free"
if consumers are not required to pay for anything other than the
"unavoidable" and "true" cost of responding.
This rule is intended to prevent marketers from artificially
inflating delivery costs.
The word "free" must not be used in instances where
the price of the item which must be purchased to take advantage of
the free offer has been increased above its normal cost.
Where a package comprises a pre-arranged combination of
features where customers cannot exercise genuine choice on how many
elements of the package they receive for the price, individual
elements of the package must not be described as "free".
A feature of a bundle or package can only be described as free if
that feature has recently been added and is not intrinsic to the
product or service being advertised.
Holidays and travel
The ASA has issued a note on holidays and travel, and in
particular misleading prices which do not include non-optional
charges and adds which exaggerate the availability of cheap fares
by being subject to restrictions, such as limitations on when
someone can travel.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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