Online reseller Ebuyer has insisted the only reason it did not respond to a probe by the advertising regular was because a "communication error" meant it only heard there was an investigation this morning.
Back in October, the IT firm emailed customers details of an offer headed: "free next-day delivery on all of your orders this month".
But text underneath the wording appeared to contradict the claim. It read: "Offer ends on 31 October 2014 at midnight. Some products are not available for next-day delivery. Location and weight restrictions apply. Excludes Paypal purchases."
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) today announced it had upheld the one complaint it had received about the offer.
"We considered consumers would understand from the headline... that free delivery applied to all orders without exception," it said in a adjudication document. "We therefore considered the accompanying text... contradicted rather than qualified the headline claim."
The agency said it had been "concerned" that Ebuyer had not responded to it when it was first in touch about the issue and said it has reminded the firm of its duty to play ball in future.
In a statement sent to CRN, Ebuyer said it only did not reply to the ASA because it only got wind of the complaint today.
"We've spoken with the ASA this morning regarding the advert in question and we're looking at the issues they highlighted," said Ebuyer's head of marketing Graham New.
"Unfortunately a communication error meant we were only made aware of the complaint this morning, so regretfully we were unable to respond in time.
"We have amended the advert in question, and are working with the ASA to ensure future advertising is not misconstrued."
In the small print of the offer, Ebuyer also stipulated that in order to qualify for the free next-day delivery, orders must be worth at least £49.99. The ASA said this was misleading.
"We considered that the minimum £49.99 spend required to qualify for the offer was a significant condition and as such, should have been included in the body copy of the ad," it said. "Because of the way in which the qualifications were presented, we concluded that the ad was likely to mislead."
The ASA ruled that in future, Ebuyer must be clearer with its wording.
"The ad should not appear again in its current form," it ruled. "We told Ebuyer to ensure future ads made clear any eligibility restrictions."
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