Feeds

Play.com pestered to back up price claims

ASA repeats call to justify discount shoutings

Boost IT visibility and business value

Online music retailer Play.com has been criticised by the UK's advertising watchdog for the second time in a year for claims about the savings it offers. The company has been told not to repeat the claims.

Play.com last year published adverts in the national press claiming that it offered discounts of up to 50 per cent on new album releases. The savings were based on recommended retail prices (RRPs) for the albums of £15.99.

The ASA said that Play.com did not have enough evidence that the albums were actually on sale for £15.99 at the time of the adverts. It said that the retailer had broken its rules on the substantiation of claims and on price comparisons.

Last April Play.com was warned about its use of RRPs. It was censured then for advertising RRPs for products which were not yet on release, and was told not to do so again. The ASA said that it had done so.

"Because the albums by Glasvegas, Roots Manuva, The Automatic and The Verve were not on general release at the time the ads appeared, we concluded that the RRPs, and therefore the 'savings' based on those RRPs, were unsubstantiated, because they could not reflect the prices at which the products were generally sold," said the ruling.

The ASA said that it had reiterated its demand to Play.com that it not use unsubstantiated RRP figures in its advertising.

"We reminded Play not to use RRPs when advertising products not yet on general release and told them to ensure that they held robust substantiation, before making a claim, that price comparisons reflected the price at which the product was generally sold," said the ASA ruling.

Play.com had said that in some cases the RRP was the manufacturer's list price, and that it genuinely believed them to be the prices at which albums were on sale in other outlets.

Play.com also said that it had changed its policies after last April's ruling so that RRPs were not used for music that had not yet been released. It said that there had been an error in the current case and that it had taken steps to prevent it from happening again.

A spokeswoman for the ASA said that it had not been the case that Play.com had ignored the ASA's earlier ruling, and that the problems in each case had been different.

She said that if a company persistently ignored its rulings it would be reported to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) which would take further action. Ryanair was reported to the OFT on those grounds last year, she said.

The spokeswoman said that it was not likely that action against Play.com would be escalated in that way.

See: The ruling

Copyright © 2008, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
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
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
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.
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.
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.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.