Groupon rapped by ASA for misleading Botox offer
A Groupon offer for a ‘choice of facial injection treatments’ at Bath Facial Aesthetics has been banned by the ASA, after complaints that it advertised a prescription-only medicine to the public.
Groupon said the promotion was for a voucher which could be redeemed against services offered by a supplier, in this case a choice of facial injection treatments, rather than for a product or service itself. It added that the voucher could be redeemed against a choice of dermal fillers from Restylane and Juvederm.
The ASA said did not agree with Groupon that the promotion was for a voucher which could be redeemed against a choice of Restylane and Juvaderm dermal filler treatments, with Bath Facial Aesthetics telling the standards body that where a consumer had purchased the offer for one facial injection (£49), this was for Botox, whereas where a consumer had purchased the offer for two facial injections (£89), they could choose between either two Botox injections or one dermal filler.
Nina Best, a specialist in advertising law at Browne Jacobson, said on the decision: "This will be devastating news for Groupon as it will have been well advised to keep a clean sheet particularly whilst the OFT investigation is on-going.
"The OFT is focusing heavily on online activities at the moment and unless Groupon is able to evidence that it is not committing offences contrary to Consumer Protection Regulations there is a significant risk that it will find itself facing financial penalties. In addition, the losses that Groupon may suffer due to the adverse publicity may be crippling.
"Groupon would be well advised to start putting systems and procedures in place to ensure that all of its activities are subject to legal compliance checks to start mitigating its potential breaches as well as rebuilding consumer confidence in the brand."
UPDATED: A Groupon spokesperson told The Drum: “Groupon takes any claims by the ASA very seriously. We have further improved our checks and processes around claims for health and beauty products to make sure our customers have the information they need to make informed buying decisions. Groupon also wants all customers to be completely satisfied with their purchases, which is why we have the Groupon Promise in place allowing customers to have a full refund of their voucher at any time.
"We want the Groupon experience to be the best possible for consumers and small businesses, and we aim to lead the daily deals industry into best practice.
"In the case of administering any injectable treatments, we act in full compliance with all legal requirements. We only approve deals that are run by suitably qualified medical professionals or those acting under the instructions of qualified medical practitioners, in line with Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) guidance.”