Ads watchdog snarls at HP, cocks leg at Dixons

More unacceptable adverts and unsustainable complaints

Dixons' sour grapes over Tiny's free PC offer were ignored by the ASA this month. The high street giant lashed out at Tiny, objecting to the "free PC" headline in an advert because of a £39.99 delivery charge. It also questioned whether the machine, sold without monitor, was suitable for use with a TV - claiming that flickering could cause eyestrain or epilepsy. The ASA did not uphold the complaint, saying the delivery charge applied to an alternative offer and that Tiny had provided a TV output card to make the PC safe. Tiny also came under fire from another company over its claim to the country's "first free PC" offer. Would-be rival Logitext said it had been offering similar deals on its Web site since May. But the ASA pointed out that these computers were only loaned, not given away by Logitext. Surbiton-based reseller Tech Direct Europe found itself caught out by the ASA on chip pricing. Its advert priced a 168 Pin BX memory module at £44.99, but when the claimant called the company he was told the price had tripled. Tech Direct blamed the price change on memory price fluctuations, saying it had expected prices to fall when they had actually risen. After the ASA became involved, the company offered to supply the chip for free. But the complaint was still upheld. The third IT company to get carpeted by the Authority was Hewlett-Packard. In an advert HP claimed customers could "save a bundle by putting together your own package", and pictured cut-price software in the relevant boxes. But customers received the software stuffed in cardboard envelopes and unboxed. The ASA decided not to condone this cheapskate behaviour, especially as HP failed to respond to the complaint. ®

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