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TM Lewin rapped for "misleading" online multi-buy offer

A multi-buy online promotion offered by TM Lewin has been declared misleading by the Advertising Standards Authority.

The offer on TM Lewin’s website last November, which stated “Men’s and Women’s Shirts and Ties now from five for £100 - select any combination of five or more”, attracted complaints on the grounds of being misleading.

In its ruling, the ASA said the wording of the offer was confusing because it was not clear to consumers what was meant by “from five for £100” - it could be interpreted to mean more than five shirts could be purchased for £100.

The phrase “select any combination of five or more” was also ambiguous, open to the interpretation that any combination of shirts could be bought for £100 under the offer.

The shirts sold at a range of different prices depending on quality and style. When customers bought more than five shirts the price dropped to £20, £25 or £30, depending on the shirt selected.

TM Lewin responded, saying the offer was intended as a multi-buy promotion, where customers would get discount for bulk buying. The price of each individual shirt when part of the offer was clearly marked on the website.

The ASA concluded the promotion was misleading and should not appear again in its current form.

TM Lewin has since clarified its online shirt promotion, offering five shirts for £100, or marking reduced shirts and stating how they can be included in a multi-buy offer.

The case illustrates the growing complexity around the discounting and promotion that now hallmarks the UK’s high street. While consumers are well versed in the range of multi-buy offers, clear and simple promotions still work best.

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