When it comes to complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), Coral Interactive are up there with Paddy Power. However, where Paddy Power commercials are often hilarious, those from Coral don’t quite hit the funny bone.
The latest to come under scrutiny by the ASA was shown on television in October of last year and promoted Coral’s cash out feature.
During the commercial the voiceover could be heard saying
Imagine if you could just stop stuff when you wanted to. With Coral’s Cash Out My Bet, you decide when to blow the whistle. Online or on your phone, you can cash out your bet with Coral.
There were two complaints about the ad and each was from a customer of Coral who were unable to cash out their bets using the feature advertised. This resulted in the ASA investigating whether the commercial was misleading.
One of the customers had found that the feature was actually suspended for long periods of time on two particular dates. Coral answered this complaint by saying that there were incidents where the feature may become unavailable and offered two examples:
They then cited the T&C’s of the feature that said
Bets will not be placed with the sole intention to Cash Out, as availability is never guaranteed
Another customer was unable to cash out on a football bet selection and Coral responded by saying that the Cash Out facility was available to customers who bet on football but it was dependent on their selection. Coral had implemented restrictions on what could be cashed out and these were referred to in the terms and conditions.
Whilst the advert did show on screen text that said “Terms at coral.co.uk”, the ASA did not feel this was sufficient enough to change the overall impression that viewers would be able to cash out when they wanted on any type of bet.
They also understood that whilst there were certain reasons that the feature may not be available, it was an important part that should have been made clear in the advert.
They upheld the complaint as it breached the following BCAP codes:
Advertisements must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
Advertisements must not mislead consumers by omitting material information. They must not mislead by hiding material information or presenting it in an unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or untimely manner.
Material information is information that consumers need in context to make informed decisions about whether or how to buy a product or service. Whether the omission or presentation of material information is likely to mislead consumers depends on the context, the medium and, if the medium of the advertisement is constrained by time or space, the measures that the advertiser takes to make that information available to consumers by other means.
Advertisements must state significant limitations and qualifications. Qualifications may clarify but must not contradict the claims that they qualify.