ASA Adjudication on Ola Holidays Ltd
Ola Holidays Ltd
400 Roding Lane South
2 May 2012
Internet (on own site)
Holidays and travel
Number of complaints:
An ad for Ola Holidays on www.teletextholidays.co.uk, visited on 29 July 2011, advertised a seven-night, self-catering holiday in the Atlantic Garden Resort in Fuerteventura, Spain, departing 9 November 2011, for £208 per person, in a one-bedroom standard apartment for up to four people.
The complainant challenged whether the advertisers could substantiate that the holiday had been available for £208.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
Ola Holidays said they had been unable to obtain a call recording for the customer. At the time of the ASA's enquiry, however, they said they were able to offer holidays to the accommodation for the price advertised and so could see no reason why there would not have been availability when the complainant contacted them.
Teletext said Ola Holidays used a specialist third party to load holiday offers on to their database and to keep them updated. They said the system was designed to ensure that genuinely available offers only were displayed and that prices were up to date. They said they urged holiday companies who advertised through Teletext to have systems in place to ensure that was the case and carried out their own mystery shopping exercises. They said it was the nature of the travel industry, however, that prices fluctuated by the minute. Because Teletext was not involved in the booking process, they said they were unable to advise on whether Ola would have had availability of the holiday on the day the complainant tried to book. They supplied an explanation from the third party (TTSS), who loaded and updated the offers. TTSS said they were unable to comment on availability at the time of the customer's enquiry because they kept data for 14 days only and a longer time than that had elapsed. They said that, at the time of Teletext's enquiry to them, they were able to show availability of the same holiday with the same departure date for £208, the price the complainant had seen. They believed it was therefore a reasonable assumption that the holiday would have been available at that price on the day the complainant enquired.
The ASA noted that Ola said they were able to offer holidays to the accommodation advertised for the price the complainant saw at the time of the ASA's enquiry and so could see no reason why there would not have been availability when the complainant contacted them. We also noted that Teletext, through the information they had obtained from TTSS, believed they had shown that the holiday was subsequently still available at the advertised price and that they argued that it was therefore a reasonable assumption that the holiday would have been available on the day the complainant enquired. However, we also noted that neither Ola nor Teletext had supplied documentary evidence which showed that the holiday the complainant had enquired about had been available to customers for £208. We also noted that the holiday TTSS had subsequently shown was available, while also at the Atlantic Garden Resort, departing on 9 November for £208, departed from Luton, whereas the complainant wanted to depart from Bristol or Cardiff.
Because Ola and Teletext had not supplied documentary evidence which substantiated that the holiday was available at the advertised price when the complainant saw the ad, we concluded that the ad was misleading.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation) and 3.29 (Availability).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Ola and Teletext to make clear that offers were subject to limited availability.