ASA awards brickbats to IT firms

'Nasty concoction'

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The ASA has been kept busy despite the holiday season judging by its report this month. Exchequer Software was pulled up for using scare tactics in an accountancy software advertisement. Pegasus Software objected to the Bournemouth company’s ad, which showed a man being hung over a cauldron with the words: "VAT & EMU. A nasty concoction". It went on to say that most PC systems would be unable to cope with the changes taking place. The Authority noted the advert: "exaggerated the need for companies to change their accountancy software now that the Euro had been introduced elsewhere," and was misleading. The mobile phone war heated up after a national ad by One2One which attacked its rivals’ rates. It compared its own daytime rates against Cellnet’s non-discounted rates, which Cellnet said was unfair. One2One was told to state in future ads that it had excluded the optional discount schemes from prices. Software Warehouse was also in hot water over what it said was a misprinted price. It claimed: "Borland Developer Workshop Pro…Worth £1,297 separately bundle price £594, save £703, now only £49..Stock Code SYM261." The complainants tried to order the product, but were told it was not available at the price advertised. Software Warehouse blamed a printing error, saying the £49 referred to a Symantec product on a different page. And finally, Tiny Computers got a knuckle-rapping for not clearly including the £34 plus VAT delivery charge in the advertised price for its Power Online System 450. The ASA considered the ad misleading because few customers would buy a computer without paying the delivery fee.®

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