Feeds

Ads watchdog bites PC World

But with rubber teeth?

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has slapped PC World for advertising product on TV that it was unable to supply to customers because of lack of stocks.

The UK retail chain, part of DSG International, has been told not to show the ad on TV again. This is the second time this year the ASA has chastised PC World on the same issue.

This time round, the ad featured an Advent 7000A notebook priced at £349. Three people who saw the ad told the ASA the product had already sold out in the local PC World stores before the spot had even been broadcast.

PC World said it had 2000 laptops available - a significant quantity and adequate to meet anticipated demand, the chain told the ASA. However, the ASA ruled that the complaints showed PC World "did not have adequate stock" of the product at the time the ad was broadcast.

The ASA rejected one complaint from a buyer who had claimed he was told the laptop was part of a more expensive bundle - he had simply been misinformed by local PC World staff, the chain said. Yes, that's rather poor customer service, but it is outside the ASA's remit.

However, the ads watchdog upheld a third complaint which objected to PC World's characterisation of the laptop's 40GB hard drive as "huge", a statement which the ASA ruled "exaggerated the technical specifications" of the low-cost computer.

PC World was ordered not to run the ad again in its current form. That's hardly a compelling sanction: since the low-price deal is now past, it's unlikely to do so in any case.

In January this year, the ASA ruled PC World has "misled" consumers by running an ad for product which it apparently had insufficient stock to meet demand. PC World had "not shown that it had made a reasonable estimate of demand based on previous similar promotions, or that sufficient stock of the product was available to meet that demand", the ASA ruled at the time.

An ASA spokeswoman told us the organisation has no hard and fast rules on deciding when an advertiser becomes classed as a 'repeat offender', but it's typically three distinct instances of the same complaint. In such circumstances, she said, the organisation would seek to work with the company concerned before imposing such sanctions as requiring all ads to be fully cleared before publication or broadcast, and ultimately rising to a potential prosecution under Trading Standards legislation. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
You didn't get the MeMO? Asus Pad 7 Android tab is ... not bad
Really, er, stands out among cheapie 7-inchers
Apple winks at parents: C'mon, get your kid a tweaked Macbook Pro
Cheapest models given new processors, more RAM
4K video on terrestrial TV? Not if the WRC shares frequencies to mobiles
Have your say with Ofcom now, before Freeview becomes Feeview
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
YES, iPhones ARE getting slower with each new release of iOS
Old hardware doesn't get any faster with new software
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.