Manchester online retailer PrettyLittleThing has been criticised by the Advertising Standards Authority for running a misleading time-limited promotion on its website.
The decision comes after the BBC carried out an investigation into the use of time-limited promotions by the retailer’s parent company, Boohoo, at the end of last year.
Between August and November 2018, Watchdog Live recorded 14 sales that had a countdown clock attached to them and in each case the clock reset and the offer continued when it reached zero.
The ASA had said: “Boohoo is breaking rules around sales promotions that we have investigated and ruled against previously, which is why this has been passed straight to our compliance team. Our team will work with the advertiser to ensure they bring their ad into line.”
In this latest case, a banner at the top of the Prettylittlething home page, seen on 14 January 2019, featured text stating “£1 UK NEXT DAY DELIVERY* ENTER: ONENDD – HURRY! ENDS IN …”, followed by a timer counting down in real time.
The ASA found that there was actually an ongoing rotation of offers.
“We considered that consumers were likely to regard the offer as a limited promotion, and not as part of an ongoing rotation of offers,” the ASA said in its judgement. “We concluded that the ad was misleading and breached the Code.
“The ad must not appear again in the form complained about. We told Prettylittlething.com Ltd to ensure that their promotions were administered fairly and not to use time-limited promotions in a way that was likely to mislead consumers.”