Online retailer Jean-Patrique Cookware has fallen foul of the advertising watchdog for failing to deliver on a special promotion.
A catalogue insert in the November 10 2009 issue of Radio Times offered a free stainless steel kettle worth £39.95 with every order over £30.
Small print stated that the company reserved the right to substitute the kettle with similar items of the same or higher value. But a reader who placed the qualifying order and did receive a substitute gift complained to the Advertising Standards Authority, questioning the availability of the kettle.
Jean Patrique said that the promotion had appeared earlier in the November 2009 edition of Readers Digest – published in October – and that there were then 1,000 kettles in stock. However, they had gone by November 12, at which point customers were given a substitute gift. The company said the complainant had placed his order in mid November, over one month after the promotion had appeared.
However, the ASA pointed out that he had responded to the promotion in the November 10 issue of Radio Times, and that Jean-Patrique had run out of kettles just two days later.
The ASA decided that the company had failed to make a reasonable estimate of demand for the kettle and had not been able to meet demand. And it added that warning customers that they might get a substitute gift “was not sufficient to relieve Jean-Patrique of the obligation to take all reasonable steps to avoid disappointing customers”.
Jean-Patrique was told that the ad must not appear again in its current form.