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Misleading cruise adverts sail away

Cruisedeals.co.uk ad deemed misleading by ASA

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The Advertising Standard’s Authority (ASA) has deemed two cruisedeals.co.uk adverts to be misleading following a Which? complaint.

The complaint was issued to the Advertising Standards Authority in November 2010. One advert offered an onboard spend of $220 while the second promised cruise breaks ‘from £629pp’. Which? Travel found neither offer was actually available.

Which? Travel investigates

The complaint was the result of a wider Which? investigation. Of the 25 cruise offers we investigated, 33% were unavailable at the advertised price. We discovered giveaways that never existed and compulsory charges either tucked away in the small print or not mentioned at all.

Rochelle Turner, Head of Research for Which? Travel, said

‘Holiday companies should be completely upfront with consumers – advertising offers that don’t exist is not just frustrating for holiday bargain hunters, it’s also illegal.’

Offer too good to be true?

Cruisedeals.co.uk were advertising onboard spend offers of £130 and $220. When our Which? undercover reporter called to book the cruise they were told the offers were misprints and were actually £30 and $120 respectively. Cruisedeals.co.uk told us that the offers were valid when the adverts went to print and only available for the publication date.

However, we discovered that one of the deals was still being advertised in a newspaper the following weekend, still offering an onboard spend of £130. When we called a second time we were again told that the offer was only for £30.

Rochelle said ‘we will continue to monitor press adverts like the one for CruiseDeals.co.uk to ensure they don’t mislead consumers, and will report any further discrepancies to the ASA.’

Join the debate

The ASA have extended their remit to cover online media and marketing. Where the ASA have traditionally dealt with broadcast media, they’re now taking on company websites and social networks. Do you think it’s possible for ASA to police the internet?

Which? Travel

Want to know the best tour operators to travel with, the airlines that give the best customer service, and the best ways to find value-for-money holidays? For practical travel advice, recommendations, and inspirational ideas, look no further than Which? Travel.

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