Warwick Castle rapped over card chargesWatchdog upholds complaint over website prices
19 October 2011
Warwick Castle has been told to change its website marketing after the advertising watchdog upheld a customer complaint that non-optional card charges were not included.
The Advertising Standards Authority backed a customer who claimed Warwick Castle's website was misleading because the initial price shown did not mention the card fee.
When customers selected their ticket and payment method, a £1 or £2 charge was added to the purchase price depending on the type of card used.
Compulsory card charges
Earlier this year Which? submitted a super complaint to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) about credit and debit charges, and the the OFT agreed with us that action needed to be taken.
We are still waiting for the government's response on whether unfair charges will be banned, and you can help us by emailing financial secretary to the Treasury Mark Hoban.
Warwick Castle card charges
The ASA ruled Warwick Castle's website was misleading because it did not mention the attraction's non-optional card fee, and was against the advertising code which states that quoted prices must include all non-optional taxes, duties, fees and charges that apply to all or most buyers.
It also upheld the customer's complaint that the website was misleading because it provided VAT-exclusive prices even though all or most of its customers would have to pay VAT for the tickets.
Warwick Castle owner Merlin Attractions Operations told the ASA that its card charges were fair and reasonable and they were reviewing how the charges were displayed in their marketing.
VAT on ticket prices
It said it believed it was not misleading to display VAT-exclusive prices, because the price including VAT was also displayed, and customers were entitled to know how much of the ticket price represented VAT.
Merlin is supporting a campaign to reduce the VAT payable on UK visitor attraction tickets.
Warwick Castle was given a five star rating for 'engagement' in a recent survey of UK visitor attractions by Which? Travel. Respondents gave it an overall customer score of 69%.