Free Is Not Free If It's Included In the Price According to the ASA

By Sam Gibbs on at

The Advertising Standards Agency has rapped John Lewis on the knuckles for using 'free' to describe something that's included in the price of an item. The complaint was levelled by Dixons, but upheld by the ASA.

Revolving around a John Lewis advert advertising a free two-year warranty for Apple computers, the ASA stated quite clearly in its judgement that:

"Marketers must not describe an element of a package as "free" if that element was included in the package price unless consumers were likely to regard it as an additional benefit because it had recently been added to the package without increasing its price."

There are lots of examples of erroneous uses of the word 'free' within the UK. Your 'free minutes and texts' included in mobile phone contracts were a big offender, as there's nothing free about it if you have to pay a 'service fee' for them. Still, it's good to see the ASA doing something about it. Now, if they'd like to take that, and the 'up to' for broadband speeds, and abolish their use in all advertising in the UK I'd be very happy. [MacWorld UK]

Image credit: Judgement from Shutterstock