March 13, 2017
In November, a promotion on johnlewis.com advertised the Apple Watch at £249 as part of the store’s promise to match competitors’ prices. The promotion coincided with a prominent announcement on the home page, which stated “BLACK FRIDAY EVENT – Friday 25 – Monday 28 November – We’ve lowered hundreds of our prices this weekend. Check our offers online and in store – NEVER KNOWINGLY UNDERSOLD SINCE 1925”. Text further down the home page stated “PRICE MATCH – Today we’re matching a competitor’s promotion”. A “Shop now” button linked to the product pages.
Investigating a complaint from a shopper, who found that the Apple Watch was listed as out of stock when she tried to buy it but that it was made available the following day at full price challenged the offer. The ASA acknowledged that the offer arose from John Lewis’ price match policy rather than a price promotion it had planned. However, the ASA considered John Lewis’ action to make a product unavailable on its website while its competitor’s promotion was still running denied online consumers the opportunity to purchase at the price match price, despite John Lewis still having stock available.
Because, in the ASA’s opinion, John Lewis had not conducted the promotion fairly, resulting in unnecessary disappointment, the ad found in breach of CAP Code rule 8.2 (promotional marketing). To read the ASA’s Ruling on John Lewis Partnership plc (8 March 2017), click here.