The advertising watchdog received 55 complaints about the internet sales promotion for Sky. The promotion offered £50 of Marks & Spencer vouchers for anyone who introduced a friend to the broadcaster and a similar gift for the new Sky customer.
The offer online stated “Vouchers sent within 30 days of receipt of first subscription payment from new customer provided existing customers account is active.”
The complainants claimed that they had not received their vouchers within the designated timeframe and challenged whether the promotion had been conducted and administered fairly.
Sky said it had run similar promotions since 2003 but began marketing the initiative more widely towards the end of 2007 and so attracted more participants. It disclosed the number of participants to the ASA but has not made the figure widely known.
Sky received some complaints in 2008 and shortly after an investigation it improved the processing of the promotion and brought all customer services in-house. It added that it had identified a number of reasons why customers had not received the M&S vouchers after the latest promotion. These included incorrect registration, failure within the data transfer system and ineligibility.
The company said that it would take action to resolve each issue where necessary and when the overall number of customers was examined, only “a very small proportion, had been dissatisfied.
The ASA said that while it noted that some consumers had not met the terms of the offer, it concluded that the offer had not been administered satisfactorily and had caused “unnecessary disappointment” to some customers. It ruled that the promotion should not appear in its current form unless Sky could demonstrate fulfilment in 30 days.