The ASA/CAP have released a post called: Deliver the goods: Ensure your delivery claims and charges are CAP Code compliant. I have enclosed the text of the link below, but please have a look at the ASA/CAP site as there are lots of things of interest to anyone with an interest in Ethical Marketing.
With Black Friday now just around the corner (see here for more of our Black Friday related content), ensuring you’re making compliant delivery claims in ads is more important than ever. Here are some key issues to look out for with misleading delivery claims.
Misleading delivery claims
In February 2023, the ASA ruled Gymshark to be in breach of the CAP Code. It concluded consumers would interpret the phrase “Next Day Delivery” to mean that if an order was placed before the cut off stated (9PM Mon-Fri or 7PM Sat-Sun), they would receive the package the next day. In fact, “Next Day Delivery” was measured from when the product was shipped, not ordered.
Despite this being clarified in the delivery information section of the website, the ASA thought this was insufficient to counter the overriding impression of the ad. It deemed the ad misleading and in breach of the CAP Code (specifically Rules 3.1, 3.3 and 3.9).
So be aware, even if you clarify a statement such as “Next Day Delivery” on your website, if this is insufficient to counteract the overriding impression of your claim, you could still be in breach of the CAP Code.
Stating delivery charges
Ads shouldn’t mislead by omitting material information, or by presenting it unclearly, unintelligibly, or ambiguously (Rule 3.3). Delivery charges are material information for ads that quote prices (Rule 3.4.4).
So, if the prices of products are in your ad, you need to include information about the delivery charges. If they cannot be calculated in advance, state they’re payable, make clear the charge is excluded from the product price, and explain how the charges will be calculated (Rules 3.19 & 3.20). You need to ensure this information is presented clearly; you can’t, for example, bury this information within your T&Cs.
If delivery charges apply per product, the cost of delivery should be included in the product price (Rule 3.18). If consumers can collect the product and avoid the charge; it may be acceptable to state ‘charges apply’ before including the cost in a prominent footnote.
If delivery charges apply per order, it’s likely to be acceptable to make clear charges apply and state the costs (or how they will be calculated) in a prominent qualification, or in the case of an e-tailing website, on a separate webpage clearly signposted from the stated price.
If multiple delivery charges apply, ads must make this clear. Deliveroo were remined of this in a recent ruling.
Inflating delivery charges
Inflating the cost of delivery when it doesn’t reflect the true cost of postage is likely to make an ad misleading. The amount being charged should be clear, honest and fair. The ASA has ruled on this issue in the past.
For further information, and to post-pone any non-compliance with the advertising codes, take a look at our Advice Online article on Compulsory costs and charges: delivery charges.
If you need advice on non-broadcast ads, feel free to send a query to our Copy Advice team, who will deliver a response for free within 24 hours.