Report by Joseph Blair
Dunnes have had a slap on the wrist from the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland over a complaint made that a flower bouquet was presented as costing ‘from €3.99’ in an advert but actually cost €39.99. They considered that even though the price was shown as “from €3.99” the advertisement was misleading as the flowers pictured were on sale for €39.99, a much higher price than the advertised price. The complaint was upheld with a ‘Don’t do that Again’ punishment. At time of going to press we had no comment from Dunnes. It also has to be said, that it is not a problem unique to Dunnes as from personnel experience the ‘From’ pricing format and the associated press advertising seems to be almost an Industry Standard which can only lead to pricing confusion for the consumer. Read on for the full official detail.
ASCI – The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland
Advertiser: Dunnes Stores
A press advertisement for Valentines Day themed products at Dunnes Stores featured a picture of each product and a price. In the centre of the advertisement was a heart with the words “Half Price” inside it. One of the products featured was a bouquet of red roses beside which was the text “Dozen Red Roses from €3.99. Selection of Bouquets from €3.99. Fresh in store tomorrow.” Pictured on the roses was a large heart inside of which stated “from €3.99”.
The complainant saw the advertisement and noted that the roses featured were ‘Grand Prix Roses’. When he visited his local Dunnes Stores there were no roses on sale for €3.99. He saw that there were premium roses on sale for €16.99 but he did not see any bunches of Grand Prix Roses as were shown in the advertisement. He considered the advertisement to be misleading.
- The advertisers’ stated that the advertisement highlighted a dozen red roses from €3.99. They had a number of other dozen red roses offers on sale in Dunnes Stores starting from €3.99 up to €39.99. The image used by them was to highlight this offer and was a dozen Grand Prix red roses that were on sale in Dunnes Stores for €39.99. They stated that their advertisement had clearly stated that the price for a dozen red roses started from €3.99; however, they did acknowledge that the image used did not relate to the €3.99 offer and they will ensure that this will not be the case for any future promotions with roses.
- The Secretariat were made aware by the complainant that the advertiser was using a similar approach to advertising flowers for Mother’s Day. The advertiser was asked to comment, in view of the undertaking to change their presentation of bouquets with related prices but no response was received.
- Complaint Upheld.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. They noted that the flowers featured in the advertisement were a premium range of roses that were not available at the advertised price of €3.99. They considered that even though the price was shown as “from €3.99” the advertisement was misleading as the flowers pictured were on sale for €39.99, a much higher price than the advertised price.
Action Required: The advertisement must not reappear in its current form again.
Report by Joseph Blair