Jewellery Channel rebuked for inflated starting price

The Jewellery Channel (TJC) has been rapped by the Advertising
Standard Authority (ASA) for misleading pricing. The Jewellery
Channel sells via “reverse auctions”, where the price
of an item continues to go down rather than increase; all bidders
pay the final on-screen price. A viewer challenged that a
starting price of £3,186 implied the ring was worth that
sum, which was more than its true value. The complaint was upheld
by the ASA, which said the price suggested that consumers would
be expected to pay the same amount for similar rings on the high
street, though it did not receive “satisfactory”
evidence that the price was comparable.

Whilst the ASA acknowledged that TJC was entitled to set a
starting price, to comply with the ASA’s request it must now
reflect the price similar rings would fetch on the high street as
to not mislead consumers. This may have ramifications for other
users of reverse auctions, as persistent breaching of advertising
codes may lead to a referral to the Office of Fair Trading and
communications watchdog Ofcom, which have the power to impose
legal action.


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