“I am D3100 Cashback” announced text on a Nikon website, but a complaint was lodged with the ASA that this was misleading due to the offer being fulfilled not literally by “cash” being handed over, but a pre paid Visa card instead. Omar Bucchioni reports the important finding by the regulator.
Topic: Promotion marketing
Who: ASA and Nikon UK Limited
When: October 2011
Law stated as at: 31 October 2011
Recently, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) investigated a promotion on Nikon’s website which included the text “I AM TOO GOOD TO MISS”. Text below stated “I AM D3100 CASHBACK. Receive £40 cash-back when purchasing a new Nikon D3100 with one new NIKKOR lens, or £65 cashback when purchasing a new Nikon D3100 with any two or more new NIKKOR lenses …”. Terms and conditions on the promotion stated “This offer will be fulfilled by prepaid Visa card”.
A complaint contacted the ASA and triggered its investigation. Basically the question posed to the ASA was whether the “cashback” claim was misleading because the offer was fulfilled through a pre-paid Visa card and not cash.
What Nikon had to say
Nikon UK Ltd (Nikon) explained that the mechanic of the promotion was to give an agreed sum of money back to a valued Nikon customer following their purchase. The Visa pre-paid card was chosen as a means to fulfil the promotion because it was supported by a leading corporate bank and that they believed this offered an efficient and secure service in that it allowed the customer to spend their money without having to bank a cheque or without having to provide Nikon with account details for BACS payment. They stated that customers did not need to have a bank account to take advantage of the offer.
Nikon also considered that on its website it was clear that the payment would be made by pre-paid Visa and that before a consumer could navigate the claim fulfilment page on the website, they were first of all required to read and understand Nikon’s T&Cs and were given details of how to claim, along with examples of frequently asked questions. They also stated that the term “cashback” was now increasingly used within the industry to represent a pre-paid card. They added that cashback promotions might otherwise be fulfilled by sending a cheque but were never fulfilled as cash.
Nikon added that the card holder had the option of redeeming the card for cash by calling the Citi call centre and requesting a redemption of the current card balance in the form of cash through an ATM.
What the ASA had to say
In brief: the complaint was NOT UPHELD and no further action was taken.
The ASA noted ‘cashback’ offers on goods sold through general retailers acted as a bonus incentive to customers since the payment was equivalent to a delayed discount on the item.
This is different from a customer request for “cash back” as part of transaction in which a cash amount was added to the amount to be paid by debit card and handed back to the customer in cash at the time of purchase.
The ASA felt that most consumers would understand that payments would not be paid in cash because the offer was not fulfilled by the retailer at the point of purchase. They also noted that the ad provided prominent T&Cs which clearly stated that the ‘cashback’ offer was delivered to the customer in the form of a pre-paid Visa card.
Because the pre-paid Visa card could be used to make direct purchases at any place that accepted Visa, as well as to withdraw cash from an ATM, the ASA felt that this fulfilment of the offer through the pre-paid card was likely to be understood by the average consumer as a form of cashback and therefore the ad was not misleading.
Why this matters:
With this adjudication the ASA makes an important point in considering pre-paid Visa cards able to form part of a cashback offer. The ASA took this decision based on their view that the average consumer would understand that cashback offers on purchases would mean that with a pre-paid card they would be provided with access to the “cashback” amount of money that formed part of the offer that they could then spend at their discretion (i.e. normal cash).