TUI cruise website gets telling off from advertising watchdog
A complaint about an advertisement by a TUI-owned company has been upheld by the Advertising Standards Association.
Consumer publication Which? Travel issued a complaint to the ASA about an advert in the News of the World last October for CruiseDeals.co.uk, a trading name of TUI UK.
The advert claimed the onboard spend included in the cost of the cruise was $220 per couple.
But, when Which? Travel researchers posed as potential customers, they were told the onboard spend was only $120 per couple.
Rochelle Turner, head of research for Which? Travel, said: "Holiday companies should be completely upfront with consumers - advertising offers that don"t exist is not just frustrating for holiday bargain hunters, it"s also illegal.
"We will continue to monitor press adverts like the one for CruiseDeals.co.uk to ensure they don"t mislead consumers, and will report any further discrepancies to the ASA."
In response to the complaints, TUI told the ASA that the advert should have said that onboard spend was up to $120 because the spend depended on the type of cabin booked. The company apologised about the oversight.
The ASA ordered TUI not to repeat the advert.
A statement from TUI said: "CruiseDeals would like to apologise for the error in its advert in the News of the World on 31 October 2010. We would like to reassure all customers that this was an isolated incident and at all times we aim to be completely upfront with customers about our offers.
"CruiseDeals thoroughly check the content of all its advertisements before going to print. When working with third party suppliers, clarity is also sought as close to the date of publication as possible, to ensure that the offers as advertised are available to our customers.
"Both ourselves and P&O signed off the 31 October advertisement. The onboard spend for the offer with P&O Cruises was advertised at $220 per couple. However, we can confirm this should have advised "on board spend up to $220" as the on board spend did depend on the cabin type that was booked.
"We would like to apologise for this oversight and to any customer who may have experienced any disappointment while trying to book this offer. CruiseDeals would like to assure all its customers that all advertised offers are valid at the time of print and will be honoured within the allotted time scales."
by Bev Fearis and Dinah Hatch
Wednesday, March 9, 2011