CAP – Pricing advice that is just the ticket!

The ASA/CAP have released a post called: Pricing advice that is just the ticket! 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.

Whether you’re advertising tickets to your own events or acting as a secondary ticket provider, you’ll need to ensure that the price is accurate and that any additional fees are presented correctly and clearly. How do I do this, I hear you ask?  Well the Code says that quoted prices must include non-optional taxes, duties, fees and charges that apply to all or most buyers.  If those taxes, duties, fees or charges can’t be calculated in advance, an ad should make clear that they apply and state how they’re calculated. 

Read on to find out how this might look in practice.

What if I charge booking fees?

If a fixed booking fee is applicable to each individual ticket, the price should include the cost of that fee.  So if a ticket is being advertised as £30 and there’s a £2.50 booking fee for each ticket, the price should actually be presented as £32.50.  Stating the cost separately is unlikely to be sufficient.

Fees that are applied per transaction rather than per ticket won’t need to be included in the cost of the ticket itself, however any prices should make immediately and prominently clear that the fee will apply and how much it is. 

If a fee cannot be calculated in advance, for example because it depends on the customers circumstances, then the ad must make it clear that the fee will be applied and state how it’s calculated.  For example, if a ticket is being sold via different methods – online, by phone or in person – and a booking fee is only applied to tickets sold via two of those methods – online and by phone – then the total cost cannot be calculated in advance because it’s dependent on how the consumer purchases the ticket.  In that case any price claims should be immediately qualified with the amount of any fees or charges that may be applied and in what circumstances they apply.

Do I have to include VAT?

Put simply – unless all those to whom the ad is clearly addressed do not pay or can recover VAT, then all stated prices must include it.  This applies to any ticket prices that are targeted to UK consumers.

What about delivery fees?

In addition to the above, ads that include prices must also state applicable delivery charges.  The same reasoning applies that if these cannot reasonably be calculated in advance, a specific charge does not need to be included – but it should be made clear that such charges will be applied and how they’re calculated.

This website included text below a range of tickets that stated “Prices may vary from face value and exclude order & delivery fees” on the basis that these could not be calculated in advance.  However the site was targeted to UK consumers and the location of the seller was known prior to a consumer providing their personal details.  In addition, there were standard prices for each delivery option.  In this context the delivery fee could be calculated in advance and so should have been stated alongside the quoted ticket prices.

How prominent do I need to make these fees?

In a word, very.  Consumers should have all relevant information available to them up front so that they’re able to make an informed decision on whether to proceed with the purchase process.  This means that fees should be mentioned as soon as ticket prices are quoted and not contained within filters or subsequent webpages.

 

If you need further advice on this topic, see our articles here, here and here and you can get a free ticket to some bespoke advice on your own non-broadcast advertising by contacting our Copy Advice team. 

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