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StubHub ordered to amend UK marketing

The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ordered StubHub to amend its marketing surrounding its claim that “every order is 100% guaranteed” after upholding a complaint from a consumer.

The complainant had taken issue with the use at the bottom left-hand corner of the majority of pages on StubHub’s UK website of a small icon in the shape of a shield with a tick inside it next to the text ‘FanProtect’. The text underneath stated “Buy and sell with confidence Customer service all the way to your seat Every order is 100% guaranteed”.

The complainant, who understood that tickets were refunded if an event was cancelled but not if it was rescheduled, challenged whether the claim “every order is 100% guaranteed” was misleading.

In response, StubHub UK believed consumers would understand from the claim that buyers were guaranteed to receive the tickets they purchased in time for the event. Additionally, they considered it was clear from their website that StubHub was not the ticket seller, nor the promoter or event organiser who they considered would be responsible for awarding refunds, if any, in circumstances where an event was rescheduled. They considered consumers therefore would not infer from the claim that they were entitled to a refund in such circumstances.

StubHub argued it was limited by space constraints on certain sections of its website, adding that where these constraints didn’t exist the terms of the guarantee were outlined more fully, along with the FanProtect policy.

StubHub also pointed to the fact that the claim was not displayed at any point during the actual buying journey for a ticket, and therefore could be argued that it would not materially influence a decision on whether to buy.

StubHub said it would add a hyperlink to the claim so that website users could navigate from it to the page on their website which gave the details of the FanProtect policy. However, the ASA has now ruled that this measure does not go far enough.

In a statement, the regulator said: “The ASA considered that consumers would interpret the claim ‘Every order is 100% guaranteed’ in the context of the accompanying claims ‘FanProtect’, ‘Buy … with confidence’ and ‘Customer service all the way to your seat’, and the shield/tick icon.

“In the absence of additional accompanying information regarding the nature of the guarantee we considered the claim would be understood by consumers to mean that they would be able to obtain a refund through StubHub if their tickets did not arrive on time or gain them entry into the venue, or if the event did not go ahead at the scheduled date and time (whether it was cancelled or rescheduled).”

The ASA added: “Because the claim ‘Every order is 100% guaranteed’ implied that consumers who purchased tickets through StubHub could claim a refund if the event was rescheduled when that was not the case, we concluded the ad was misleading.”

The ASA ruled that StubHub breached rules concerning misleading advertising, qualifications and guarantees and after-sales service. It added: “The ad must not appear again in the form complained of.

“We told StubHub (UK) Ltd not to use the claim ‘Every order is 100% guaranteed’ unless the claim was prominently qualified to make clear that rescheduled events were not included in the guarantee.”