Takealot nailed over free next-day delivery claims

The Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) has ruled against Takealot regarding a complaint about its next-day delivery claims for Daily Deals items.

This after a shopper complained that Takealot doesn’t provide adequate warning that its free next-day delivery has a minimum threshold of R500.

Although Takealot isn’t a member of the ARB and doesn’t submit to its jurisdiction, the ARB still considered the merits of the complaint.

It agreed with the complainant and warned its members not to accept Takealot advertising claiming “Free Delivery” without clarifying the criteria needed to get the offer.

The complainant — Jarred Gebhardt — had tried to order a Daily Deals product, expecting to get free next-day delivery as per the Daily Deals banner.

However, upon adding the item to his cart, Takealot’s platform prompted him to select more products to reach a R500 threshold to qualify for free next-day delivery.

The complainant added that he couldn’t find any explanation for the lack of free next-day delivery when reviewing the “T&Cs apply” message through a supplied link.

Given the opportunity to respond, Takealot stated that its response to the ARB shouldn’t be interpreted as agreeing with the regulator’s jurisdiction.

The online retailer also referred to its customer help centre, where the next-day delivery criteria are set out.

The page specifies: “A ‘Next Day’ badge seen on the product details page does not guarantee next-day delivery”.

According to Takealot’s customer help centre, next-day delivery is only applicable to the following situations:

  • For Cape Town-based customers, all products must be in stock at the Cape Town distribution centre.
  • For Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Durban-based customers, all products must be in stock at the Johannesburg distribution centre.
  • For all other areas, all products must be in stock at the nearest distribution centre.
  • Products must measure less than 1.4 metres in length and width and cannot be bulky (35kg volumetric or more).

“It cannot take the matter further than to state that the criteria for the free next-day delivery had not been met by the Complainant, as the Complainant did not supply more information relating to the Complainant,” added Takealot.

The ARB weighed the complaint and Takealot’s response with reference to Clause 4.2 of Section II of the Advertising Code of Practice, which related to misleading advertising.

It noted Takealot’s submission that it isn’t a member of the ARB and, as such, ruled on the matter for the guidance of its members.

Clause 4.2.1 of Section II states that advertisements should not contain any statement or visual representation, which is likely to mislead the consumer about an advertised product, directly or by omission, ambiguity, or exaggerated claim.

The banner in question appears above the Daily Deals heading and states, “Free Next-Day Delivery”.

“The aspect of the claim that the Complainant takes issue with is the ‘free’ delivery, as he was only able to claim free delivery once he had spent over R500,” the ARB said.

It noted that while the retailer’s response indicates that the complainant should consult its customer help centre, the information provided on the page doesn’t clarify the “Free” delivery issue.

“The implication is that all Daily Deal offers are subject to free delivery. There is no clarification such as ‘on orders over R500’,” the ARB said.

“In addition, there is no asterisk next to the word ‘free’ or other alert that there is a qualification on the ‘free’ offer.”

“Finally, there is no link in the vicinity of the claim to the relevant explanations in the terms,” it added.

Because of this, the regulator deemed Takealot’s “Free Next-Day Delivery” claim unsubstantiated and misleading to customers.

“Members of the ARB are advised not to accept advertising for the Advertiser offering ‘Free Delivery’ without any clarification or indication that there is a spend threshold before one qualifies for the free delivery,” the ARB said.

Takealot told MyBroadband that while it doesn’t agree with the ARB’s ruling, it has amended the “Free Next-Day Delivery” banner to reflect the R500 threshold.

“At Takealot we are committed to our customer experience and have made amendments to our Free Next-Day Delivery banner, which now speaks to a R500 minimum spend,” it said.

“We do note that our banners are unfortunately not fairly reflected in the ruling, as the portion of the banner which specifically directs our customers to our terms and conditions is missing. We have engaged with the ARB on this issue.”

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Takealot nailed over free next-day delivery claims