Currys slammed for miss-selling HP Envy laptops

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Advertising watchdog rules against DSG Retail over online laptop advert

The Curry’s sales website has been dragged over the coals by the ASA advertising watchdog for miss-selling.

The website www.currys.co.uk, in February, included a product listing for the HP Envy 13-d061-sa 13.3in laptop in aluminium. Claims included “£649.99”, in red, with “Save £150.00” below in black text. Smaller grey text below stated “Was £799.99 (from 04/12/15 to 24/12/15)”.

Gavel, law, legal, trialA complainant, who believed the advertised discount did not represent a genuine saving, challenged whether the ad was misleading.

DSG Retail, trading as Currys, said the higher “was” price of £799.99 had applied for 21 days from 4 December 2015, and had been available both in stores and online throughout that period. The ad made clear when the previous price was last available, as recommended in the BIS Pricing Practices Guide (PPG) when a price was not the most recent available for 28 days or more.

The laptop had then been priced at £699.99 for 41 days, from 25 December 2015, and then at £649.99 from 4 February 2016. DSG provided details of the number of laptops they had sold per day during the “was” price period, as well as of the numbers sold daily at both £699.99 and £649.99.

DSG said that, as would be expected, sales increased as the price was lowered. Currys believed the ad was fully-compliant with the practices set out in the PPG.

However, the ASA upheld the complaint against DSG. The ASA noted Currys’ belief the ad was compliant with the guidance set out in the PPG. “However, we reminded them that, to ensure the presentation of their prices did not mislead, their advertising needed to comply with the CAP Code,” said the ASA.

“We considered consumers would generally understand a claim to “Save £150.00” to represent a genuine saving against the usual selling price of the product at the time the ad appeared. We noted that the ad included smaller, less prominent text which indicated when the product had been available at the higher price.”

The ASA added: “We considered many consumers were unlikely to notice the smaller grey text. While those who did would understand when the “was” price had been charged, that information was insufficient to alter the impression that there was a genuine saving of £150 available against the usual selling price of the product at the time the ad appeared.”

The ad breached the CAP Code on misleading advertising, substantiation and qualification, said the ASA.

As a result, the ad must not appear again in its current form, and the ASA has told DSG Retail Ltd to “ensure their future savings claims were not misleading”.

In a separate ruling over a complaint about the miss-selling of high definition 4K TVs for Euro 2016, the ASA also came out against DSG Retail.

@AntonySavvas