In April 2009, Shop on TV broadcast a live advertisement for the Air Cleanse Purifier. On-screen text in a box on the left-hand side stated "Usual Price 44.99" which was crossed out. Below that, the text stated "Now only 19.99" and in an orange box "You save 25.00". The presenter stated "We started at 44.99. Weve crashed the price down to 19.99 saving you 25.00 off our retail price. You have seen similar ones at different prices. This is a great price at 19.99. Its a genuine item".

The presenter explained "What it does is, it draws that water round in a circular motion. It takes the air in one side; it purifies it through the water, cleanses it and then takes it out the other side, so basically what you're getting is cleaner air in your home". Throughout the advertisement, static on-screen text stated "Purifier. Removes dust, pollutants and harmful bacteria. Relief from pollen."

ASA monitoring staff challenged whether evidence substantiated claims that the Air Cleanse Purifier: 1. was generally available for purchase at 44.99 and whether the saving of 25 was genuine, 2. purifies and cleanses the air in the home, 3. removes dust, pollutants and harmful bacteria and provides relief from pollen.

1. Shop on TV said the air cleanse purifier was currently available for purchase on an associated website as well as in its high street shop in Woodford Green, London for 44.99. The product had also been available for purchase at that price in February 2009 on another associated website.

2. & 3. Shop on TV removed the advertisement during our investigation. Shop on TV said that it had reviewed the commercial prior to broadcast and that it did not feel any of the claims were unjustified. It reasoned that common sense and practicality supported some claims in the advertisement, for example if air was drawn through water, it was obvious that any airborne particles were likely to be removed.

Shop on TV did not send any further information or evidence.

1. Upheld

In support of BCAP TV Rule 5.3.1, the ASA noted that the Code refers broadcasters to the BERR Pricing Practices Guide. The Guide includes provisions on making accurate price comparisons. It recommends against using the term "usual price" unless the seller states to whose "usual price" it refers. The Guide recommends that if the seller makes the same products available for purchase at different prices in different outlets (for example, by charging a different price in its high street store compared to its website), then any comparison with a price offered through a different outlet should be clearly explained. Importantly, it recommends that a previous price used as a reference price to make a price comparison should be a genuine retail price. We considered that the comparison placed undue emphasis on the higher price (Usual Price 44.99). We understood the product was not widely available for purchase at that price; the product had been offered for sale at 44.99 at the advertisers local high street shop and on two associated websites, which the advertiser is clearly not independent from. We received no evidence that it had been made available at that price from any other outlet. We therefore considered that 44.99 did not amount to a genuine retail price. We concluded that the price comparison, comparing the new price of 19.99 with the usual price of 44.99 and the saving claim saving you 25 was misleading.

The ad breached CAP (Broadcast) TV Advertising Standards Code rule 5.3.1 (Accurate Pricing)

2. & 3. Upheld
We welcomed Shop on TVs withdrawal of the ad. However we were concerned that Shop on TV was unaware of two recent upheld adjudications on similar products making similar claims. We reminded Shop on TV that Licensees should use the ASA website to inform themselves of recent ASA Adjudications and amend its ads accordingly. Because Shop on TV did not provide evidence that showed the Air Cleanse Purifier "purifies" or "cleanses" the air, or that it "removes dust, pollutants and harmful bacteria" or offered "Relief from pollen", we considered that the claims had not been substantiated and concluded that the ad was misleading.

The ad breached CAP (Broadcast) TV Advertising Standards Code rules 5.1.1 (Misleading advertising) and 5.2.1 (Evidence).

The ad must not be broadcast again in its present form and that the product should not be advertised without adequate substantiation for the claims made for it.

Adjudication of the ASA Council (Broadcast)