ASA: "our best prices" claim misleading – Sky UK
What does "our best prices" actually mean? Does it mean our best prices for the relevant products at the time the ad appears? Or does it mean our best "ever" prices or our best prices for a "reasonable" amount of time before the offer?
A national press ad for Sky UK Ltd t/a Sky (Sky), seen in October 2017, included text stating "Get Unlimited Broadband At Our Best Prices". BT, believing that the ad implied Sky was offering their best ever prices, challenged whether the claim "Get Unlimited Broadband At Our Best Prices" was misleading and could be substantiated.
Sky stated that the prices offered were the best prices for the products which were being advertised. They said that new or existing Sky TV customers received better prices for the three products than customers who did not have Sky TV. Further, they stated that the ad made clear the "best prices" offer was based on certain conditions such as the customer taking up Sky TV. Sky said the prices were not offered as Sky's "best ever prices" as Sky did not intend to make a comparison against previous prices offered by Sky. If that was what had been intended, then Sky said that it would have included wording to that effect. Sky contended that the average consumer would understand the difference between "best prices" and "best ever prices" and therefore additional wording was unnecessary.
The complaint was upheld.
The ASA noted that the ad did not clarify the basis of the claim "our best prices" and without this information, consumers would understand the claim "our best prices" to mean that the advertised packages were at a lower price than they had been for a reasonable amount of time prior to the offer being available.
The ASA understood that the basis for the lowest price claim was that the packages were cheaper when purchased with TV than when they were purchased alone. The regulator noted that in the previous month Sky had offered the same broadband products at lower prices.
While the ASA acknowledged that the prices offered were the best prices for the relevant products at the time the ad appeared, because the ad suggested that the packages were at a lower price than they had been recently, but in the previous month Sky had offered the relevant broadband product alone at lower prices, it concluded that the claim "our best prices" was likely to mislead.
Why is this important?
Without further information being included in an ad, the ASA has stated that a claim relating to "our best prices" will mean that the advertised products were at a lower price than they had been for a reasonable amount of time prior to the offer. Therefore, if lower prices were available within a previous "reasonable amount of time", the claim is likely to be found to be misleading.
Any practical tips?If a claim relating to "our best prices" is intended to be used in an ad, ensure that either: (a) clarifying information is also included in the advert; or (b) that the product was not available for a lower price within a previous "reasonable amount of time". What constitutes a "reasonable" amount of time may be open for interpretation by the ASA, hence it may be safer to include clarification information within the ad to ensure that consumers understand what "our best prices" refers to.