ASA: Takealot guilty of misleading ad

takealot website. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
takealot website. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

Johannesburg - Online retailer Takelot has been found guilty of misleading advertising over the price of perfume, according to the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASA).

In response, Takealot stated that it is not a member of the ASA, and the rulings of the ASA are not binding on it. 

It also noted that this was the third complaint of this type brought to the ASA, saying that there may be lags in bringing the pricing of third-party advertisers in line with price changes. 

“The product on special had sold out when the Complainant claimed the deal, but the advertising had not been changed,” the company said in response to the ruling

The ASA said that it had received a complaint that the product - DNKY Golden Delicious EDP 50M - was advertised on Facebook at a reduced rate.

The association describes itself as an "independent body set up by the marketing and communications industry to ensure that its system for self- regulation works in the public interest".

But when a user bought it, the purchase turned out to be over R200 more than the advertised price. 

The price of the item at purchase was R995 according to the ASA ruling, instead of the R369 advertised online. 

“The complainant submitted that the advertising was misleading as the advertised discounted rate of R369 was not honoured by the Respondent," read the ruling.

"The respondent advised the complainant that it is not bound by advertising appearing on third party platforms and that its own terms and conditions exempted it from complying with the advertised price, as prices change from time to time,” the ASA said in its ruling. 

Upheld

"The respondent [Takealot] is advised the advertising material may not be used again in its current format. The complaint is therefore upheld," stated the ASA.     

The e-commerce website faced a similar glitch for Black Friday when Fin24 reported that a ceramic pot set was listed at just R399 for Black Friday's ‘Blue Dot Sale’ - 93% off its regular price of R5 909 - but at checkout, the price was given as R1 999, not R399. 

At the time Julie-Anne Walsh, chief marketing officer at Takealot, told Fin24 that it had been an inadvertent human error which caused the incorrect price to be displayed on the product page. 

Takealot features a number of products sold by third-party resellers, which the company is not responsible for pricing. 

*Takealot Online is a part of Naspers, the owner of Media24, Fin24's parent company.

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