Boohoo promotions 'broke advertising rules', BBC Watchdog reveals

UK-based e-tailer Boohoo has been accused by the BBC watchdog programme Watchdog Live of breaking Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) rules through ‘misleading’ promotions on the brand’s website.

Watchdog Live found that Boohoo had promotions on its website that didn’t end when the clock reached zero, meaning customers felt false pressure to make purchases.

Between August and November 2018, the programme recorded 14 Boohoo promotions that used countdown clocks, which were reset once the clocks hit zero, allowing the promotions to continue. A 30 percent off everything offer was one of the promotions recorded, urging customers to “Hurry - ends soon.”

According to the BBC, The ASA told Watchdog Live: "Boohoo is breaking rules around sales promotions that we have investigated and ruled against previously, which is why this has been passed straight to our compliance team. Our team will work with the advertiser to ensure they bring their ad into line.

"In this specific instance, the use of a countdown clock is problematic if it misleadingly implies the offer is time-limited when that is not the case."

Boohoo accused of tempting customers with ‘misleading’ promotions

Boohoo told the BBC it hadn’t intended to mislead its customers, and that it had extended promotion times to meet customer demand. A Boohoo spokesperson told the programme: "At Boohoo, customer satisfaction is our utmost priority. We are focused on bringing our customers the latest fashions at the best prices and running promotions is one of many ways that we invest in our customer proposition.

"During the period August 2018 to November 2018 Boohoo ran a number of time-limited promotions. On the small number of occasions researchers for BBC Watchdog Live have identified, customer demand drove us to extend these offers and we did so to avoid disappointment.

"It is never our intention to mislead customers and we take full note of the BBC Watchdog's inquiry. We are looking into our processes to ensure that further diligence is exercised in relation to future promotions of this nature."

The full Watchdog Live show will be broadcast on Wednesday 5 December at 8pm on BBC One.

Photo credit: Boohoo, Facebook


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