Ryanair and Lastminute.com slammed for ‘misleading’ pricing in ads

The ASA has ruled against travel brands Ryanair and Lastminute.com, after branding two of their ads misleading to customers.

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The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled against Ryanair and Lastminute.com for their attempts to convince consumers to buy flights and holidays using for “misleading” advertising.

The ruling against Ryanair is based on the airline’s television ad seen on 5 October, which states “book now from just £19.99. Ryanair. Low fares. Made simple”. The ad then says “Fares one way. Book by 10/11/16. Travel 25/03/17”, before larger text says “Summer 2017 on sale now.”

The complainant said they had understood the £19.99 offer applied to summer 2017 and that this made the ad misleading to other customers.

READ MORE: Ryanair launches holidays with promise to keep being ‘bastards on cost’

In its defence, Ryanair says the primary message of the ad was a £19.99 seat promotion for travel until the 25 March 2017 and it believes this was clearly communicated by the disclaimer displayed on the screen throughout the ad.

However, the ASA agreed with the complainant and has banned the ad, saying it must not appear in its current form again.

“We told Ryanair to ensure that its advertising makes clear which claims the qualifications applied to in order to avoid giving a misleading impression to consumers,” the ASA says.

In response, a Ryanair spokesperson tells Marketing Week: “Ryanair disagrees with this ASA ruling, but has taken note of it in relation to future ads.”

Similarly, Lastminute.com has come under fire for misleading customers with an ad for a hotel and flight package to New York, seen on its website on 15 September 2016.

The ad says the package includes flight and hotel options to New York for £569, although its complainant said they were made to pay an additional £70.77 when they booked the offer.

Lastminute.com said the products it offers are dynamic and their availability is subject to change at any time. It said it always offers customers the option not to proceed with the booking if it is no longer suitable to them.

However, the ASA was not convinced and said the ad must not appear again in the form complained about.

“We told Lastminute.com to ensure that they could demonstrate that holiday packages were available at the prices for which they were advertised at the time they were seen by consumers,” the ASA says.

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