Feeds

Ads watchdog bites PC World

But with rubber teeth?

Reducing security risks from open source software

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. ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Child diagnosed as allergic to iPad
Apple's fondleslab is the tablet dermatitis sufferers won't want to take
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
For Lenovo US, 8-inch Windows tablets are DEAD – long live 8-inch Windows tablets
Reports it's killing off smaller slabs are greatly exaggerated
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Seventh-gen SPARC silicon will accelerate Oracle databases
Uncle Larry's mutually-optimised stack to become clearer in August
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.