ASA Adjudication on Sixt Kenning Ltd
Sixt Kenning Ltd
47 Holywell Street
26 September 2012
Number of complaints:
A revolving internet banner for "Sixt rent a car" stated "Vauxhall Corsa 3dr from £15.57 RENT NOW".
The complainant challenged whether the ad was misleading, because when she called the advertiser to enquire about the quoted price, she was told that the car was not available to hire for £15.57.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
Sixt Kenning Ltd (Sixt) said the ad was a retargeting banner aimed at users who had previously searched on the Sixt website. They said they ran their retargeting campaigns for a maximum of 30 days and that the vehicles promoted in the ads were those the consumer had previously looked at, or were similar models.
They explained that the quoted price of "£15.57" was the cost of renting the vehicle per day, but that this had been omitted from the ad in error. They confirmed that they had since added the wording "per day" to their ads to ensure greater clarity.
Sixt said their pricing system was complex and that the hire price for a vehicle per day could vary considerably both above and below a base rate depending on several factors such as the pick-up and return date and time, location, type and availability of vehicle group, and the length of the rent. They said given these variables their prices fluctuated on a regular basis, but that the prices quoted in their ads were updated once a day.
Sixt said the "from" prices quoted in their banner ads were linked to a specific pick-up location in the UK which "normally" offered the lowest price for hiring the vehicle category in question. They said their price lists were created two weeks in advance, which therefore meant the quoted prices were for rentals commencing in two weeks time. They said this was motivated by the fact that most Sixt customers booked their rentals two weeks in advance. Sixt also confirmed that the "from" price applied to hire periods of seven days. Therefore, a "from" price quoted in a banner ad was supposed to represent the lowest price available nationally for hiring a particular vehicle for seven days, when booked two weeks in advance.
The ASA understood that the "from" price promoted in the ad was supposed to represent the lowest price available for hiring a specific vehicle category per day. We understood, however, that that lowest price was only valid for one pick up location and was not applicable for all Sixt pick-up locations across the UK. We noted that if an individual clicked on the ad and performed a search for a different pick up location, a longer or shorter hire period than seven days, or for a rental commencing in less or more than two weeks, then the "from" price quoted in the ad would not be accurate. We therefore considered that without any qualifying text, consumers who had seen the "from" price in the ad would have no understanding of what conditions applied to the quoted price for it to be honoured. We also noted that a consumer would not be aware that the "from" price changed on a daily basis and was therefore relevant for a limited time only.
Because a consumer would not be aware of the conditions which applied to the stated "from" price and, depending on their hire criteria, would not necessarily be able to hire a car for the quoted "from" price, we concluded that the ad was misleading.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation) and 3.17 (Prices).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Sixt to clearly communicate the significant conditions that applied to their advertised prices regardless of whether an ad was retargeted or not.