Those ‘up to’ discounts in advertising are guidelines‚ not guarantees‚ ASA rules

07 August 2018 - 07:00 By Nico Gous
The Advertising Standards Authority dismissed Sunil Vanmari's complaint against Discovery's advertisement saying members could get up to 45 percent discount on Uber trips based on 25 percent off for Discovery insure clients
The Advertising Standards Authority dismissed Sunil Vanmari's complaint against Discovery's advertisement saying members could get up to 45 percent discount on Uber trips based on 25 percent off for Discovery insure clients
Image: TOBY MELVILLE / REUTERS

Sunil Vanmari wanted 40 percent discount on his Uber trips‚ but was unhappy when he got 20 percent instead. And so he lodged a complaint.

Vanmari complained that Discovery’s email advertisement‚ which said members could get an “up to 40 percent” discount on Uber trips‚ was misleading.

However‚ the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) dismissed his complaint last week‚ saying that this was a maximum benefit.

Discovery said members could get up to 45 percent discount on trips‚ based on 25 percent off for Discovery insure clients who have activated the Uber discount‚ and up to 20 percent off if clients were Discovery card holders (provided the payment method on their Uber app was a Discovery credit card).

Members paying with their Discovery credit card would get up to 20 percent discount on trips depending on their Discovery Vitality status‚ with this limited to R200 a month.

The 25 percent is subject to a total discount of R250 per month.

Discovery said‚ however‚ that while Vanmari was an insured client‚ he did not meet all the criteria for the maximum discount. The Uber discount was not applicable‚ it said‚ because it was not active on the cellphone number on his policy.

“Therefore‚ he does not qualify for the Uber discount‚” said Discovery.

The insurer submitted documents that showed Vanmari was an insured client on Silver Vitality status. This meant he qualified for 14 percent cash back.

The ASA ruled that the hypothetical reasonable person‚ who is a Discovery member‚ would understand that “maximum Discovery benefits are always related to one’s Vitality status”.

“They would therefore understand that the ‘up to 40 percent’ claim – which importantly states ‘up to’ – indicates that 40 percent is the maximum benefit of all conditions and requirements are met‚” the ruling read.

The ASA added that reasonable customers would understand that Discovery takes precautionary measures to ensure the Uber user claiming the benefit is the actual insured person by‚ for example‚ matching the cellphone number on their records with the one using the Uber app.

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