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Sports Direct receives ASA ban for 'misleading' Arsenal FC shirt promotion

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By Rebecca Stewart, Trends Editor

June 14, 2016 | 3 min read

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a promotion from Sports Direct after a customer complained that a marked down Arsenal shirt was for sale under “misleading” conditions.

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The Puma home shirt had been advertised via a page on Sports Direct’s website, which quoted the price of £42. Smaller text accompanying the promotion and below the quoted price stated ‘£59.99’ and ‘You save: £17.99’, respectively.

Challenging the ad, the complainant said that the product had never been sold on the website for £59.99 and challenged whether the corresponding savings claims were correct or if they could be substantiated.

While Sports Direct said that the higher price of £59.99 was based on the RRP of the kit, and submitted examples of website where the shirts were sold for as much, the ASA upheld the complaint.

Sports Direct said it believed that the higher price of £59.99 on which the savings claim was based did not differ significantly from the price recommended by the manufacturer, but the regulator refuted this claim noting in the absence of any qualification in the ad regarding the basis of that higher price, we considered that consumers were likely to understand that higher price represented the sum at which the kit was usually sold on Sportsdirect.com.

“Because the evidence provided by Sportsdirect.com related to the prices of the featured kit, and other similar products, offered on other websites, we did not consider that it was adequate in demonstrating that the kit advertised was usually sold at £59.99 on its own website,” added the ASA.

As the savings did not, in the watchdog’s opinion, represent genuine savings against the usual price, the ad was found to be “misleading."

The retailer has been told not to advertise the promotion in its current form again, and warned to ensure it substantiates savings claims in future campaigns.

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