The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has found that L&Q was in breach of its marketing code when it advertised its shared ownership product as a Black Friday promotion. Two issues were investigated, both of which were upheld.

The advertisement was in the form of a poster, seen on the London Underground network in November 2022, which featured large text which stated, “Black Friday The Shared Ownership Way”

The issue, which was raised by Shared Ownership Resources, challenged whether:

  1. the promotion was administered fairly, because they believed that a Black Friday offer with various stages that had short deadlines was not suitable for the purchase of a Shared Ownership home; and
  2. the conditions of the promotion had been made sufficiently clear.

In response to the complaint, L&Q said they had given proper consideration to the promotion, and they had allowed for sufficient time for consumers to make a decision as to whether to take part in the promotion. They also said that they had made sure all proper checks were in place to avoid a situation where consumers may have taken on too much of a commitment, which they would have regretted at a later date.

They acknowledged that Black Friday was mostly associated with electronics and smaller purchases, but considered that through the years the concept had evolved, whereby consumers expected discounts and special offers to be made available for any product or service. They referenced that other property developers and housing associations also offered Black Friday promotions in 2022, offering up to £50,000 discounts to the market sale price, mortgage support and moving costs. They re-iterated that the ad was intended to promote shared ownership as a viable route to home ownership and that they did not seek to take advantage of impulse purchases over the Black Friday period.

The ASA’s CAP Code states that promoters must conduct their promotions equitably, promptly and efficiently and be seen to deal fairly and honourably with participants and potential participants. They added that Black Friday promotions were often time-limited and commonly applied to consumer goods and that they were associated with impulsive purchases on low-risk items.

The CAP Code also stated that all marketing communications or other material referring to promotions must communicate all applicable significant conditions or information where the omission of such conditions or information was likely to mislead.

Furthermore, the ASA considered that the ad did not specify that participants would have to select a solicitor or mortgage broker from the L&Q approved panel to be eligible for the promotion. They considered that was also significant information which was likely to influence a consumer’s decision to participate in the promotion, and therefore, should have been communicated clearly within the ad.

Following the upholding of both complaints, the ASA’s suggested action state that the ad must not appear again in the form complained of. L&Q were told to ensure that their promotions were administered fairly and responsibly in future. The ASA also told them to ensure that they communicated all applicable significant conditions in marketing communications referring to promotions, including where the omission of such information was likely to mislead consumers.

To read the full decision, just click here.