Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

ASA Upholds RyanAir Complaint About Competitor's Ad

The Advertising Standards Authority has ruled in favor of a complaint filed by RyanAir over competitor easyJet's recent ad touting low summer fares. RyanAir had alleged that the number of restrictions that easyJet put on the fares made it nearly impossible for customers to shop comparatively. Said the ASA:

Four easyJet internet banner ads and one press ad promoted their "lowest price guarantee".

The press ad showed an orange egg timer with the following text written on it: "Our best summer fares are disappearing fast Prices from £19.99 single inc. taxes!" Text beneath the egg timer stated "Book by Friday and if you find it cheaper elsewhere we'll refund DOUBLE the difference*". Smaller text at the bottom of the page listed the terms and conditions: "Price correct at 30/05/07. Double the difference refund is on fare price only and is available on flights booked on between 00.01am on Monday June 4th 2007 and 22.59pm on Friday June 8 2007 only, for flights departing between 00.01 am June 1st and 23.59pm July 31st 2007. Offer applies to directly comparable flights only (same departure and destination airports departing within 1 hour of each other) ... Claims must be made within 1 hour of booking. Maximum claim €100 or equivalent ... "

One internet banner ad showed a picture of a sandcastle and contained the text "Our best summer fares are disappearing fast". The other three banner ads had pictures of egg timers and the text "Prices from £19.99 single inc. taxes ... Find it cheaper elsewhere and we'll refund double the difference LOWEST PRICE GUARANTEE". 


1. Upheld
The ASA considered the evidence sent by easyJet.  We noted the terms and conditions stated that the double the difference refund was only available on  flights departing within one hour of easyJet flights from the same airport to the same destination airport. We considered that while the design and layout of the ads gave the impression the double the difference refund was easy to obtain, the very restricting terms and conditions suggested it was not.  We also noted easyJet had not sent evidence to show customers had been able to take up the offer.  We therefore concluded the ads were misleading.

On this point the ads breached CAP Code clauses 3.1(Substantiation), 7.1(Truthfulness), 17.1(Guarantees) and 19.1(Other comparisons).

We told easyJet not to repeat the ads.

Read the entire ruling here. Read more in a Guardian article here.

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