ASA upholds complaints against online fashion retailers' countdown clock ads

Josh Peachey's picture
by Josh Peachey

Complaints against adverts from two major online fashion retailers' use of a countdown clock discount offer have been upheld. 

A complaint against Boohoo was made in November 2019 after an ad offered “up to 60% off everything” for a limited time, only for the small print to reveal it applied to “selected lines”.

The 'limited time' was a countdown clock and a similar ad on the company’s homepage declared “up to 75% off absolutely everything” with an added 10% off using a checkout code. In reality, the discount was only available for selected goods.

The ASA also ruled that the use of a countdown clock suggested that the offer would end within a strictly limited time period, whereas it actually would automatically reset as soon as it had reached zero.

Two advertisements for I Saw It First offering free delivery and a discount were similarly criticised and banned for use of a misleading countdown clock. Once the clock ran down, it was replaced by the words “Ends soon”.

ASA challenged whether the offer would revert back to the normal price once the countdown was completed.

The ads were ordered to be amended and/or removed by the regulatory body.