Poundland banned from claiming everything costs £1

Poundland argued it was offering customers 'special promotions'. Picture: Craig Coley

Poundland argued it was offering customers 'special promotions'. Picture: Craig Coley

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Poundland must no longer claim that every item it sells costs £1 after a watchdog upheld complaints that the store sold DVDs and other “special” offers for more.

The poundland.co.uk website’s About Us page said its “Everything for £1” claim was “the idea of our founders in 1990 and we’re still true to that great vision today”.

It went on: “We are very proud to offer you a single £1 price, that hasn’t changed since we opened our first store.”

But three complainants argued that Poundland was misleading customers because it promoted products that cost more than £1 and sold DVDs and CDs for £2.

Poundland said it priced all its ordinary products at £1, but had introduced “special promotions” that offered customers who spent over a certain amount the chance to buy items that cost more than £1.

The cashier would offer customers the opportunity to buy the promotional item, such as a £3 gift set, while at the till, meaning they could not inadvertently select it while shopping around the store.

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Poundland said the DVD promotion was a trial of a concession with a third party in a small number of stores which was segregated from all other £1 products and clearly priced at £2.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) acknowledged that the firm sold the majority of its products for £1 and that more expensive items could only be bought from the DVD concession or through the conditional spend promotion.

But it said the website’s claims referring to Poundland’s £1 “idea of our founders” and “great vision” suggested that every item sold by Poundland cost £1, regardless of whether or not they were sold via a concession arrangement or as a promotion.

The ASA ruled: “Therefore, because that was not the case, we concluded that the ad was misleading.”

It said the advert must not appear again in its current form, adding: “We told Poundland that their future advertising must not state or suggest that every item they sold cost £1.”

In October, the ASA banned Poundworld’s “everything £1” claim after a customer spotted “special” items on sale for £3 and £8.99.

The ASA also banned an offer of a “free trial” of Amazon’s Prime delivery service after the watchdog found the online retail giant misled consumers about subscription fees.

Direct mailing sent to consumers with Amazon accounts included a plastic card stating “30-day free trial”, information about the associated Amazon Prime “instant video” and a letter reading: “Dear (recipient’s name), I’m sending you this letter because I want you to know that you are eligible for a free trial of Amazon Prime. Start your 30-day free trial today and watch as much as you want. That’s all there is to it.”

Smallprint said: “Paid subscription starts automatically after free trial unless cancelled.”

Six people complained that the advert was not sufficiently clear a paid subscription would start automatically.

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