Online fashion retailer Boohoo misled customers by using a fake countdown clock, according to the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA).
The advertising watchdog said Boohoo broke its rules by using false time limits, putting customers under unnecessary pressure to make purchases.
Boohoo’s promotions used a countdown clock offering shoppers discounts if they bought items before a deadline. But an investigation by the BBC’s Watchdog Live found the deals continued once the clocks reached zero.
A spokesperson for the ASA said: “Boohoo is breaking rules around sales promotions that we have investigated and ruled against previously, which is why this has been passed straight to our compliance team.
“The use of a countdown clock is problematic if it misleadingly implies the offer is time-limited when that is not the case.”
The BBC investigation recorded 14 examples of misleading countdown promotions on the fashion retailer’s website between August and November this year.
City A.M. understands the ASA has already contacted Boohoo, which has assured the watchdog it will not use these promotions in future. It is not believed the ASA will issue sanctions at this stage.
Chair of the environmental audit committee, Mary Creagh, said: “Psychological sales tricks like ticking clocks drive over-consumption and encourage a throwaway society.
“Our inquiry has already uncovered a number of serious concerns about the ‘fast fashion’ business model and sadly it comes as no surprise that Boohoo are one of the worst offenders.”
A spokesperson for Boohoo said: “During the period August 2018 to November 2018 Boohoo ran a number of time-limited promotions.
“On the small number of occasions researchers for BBC Watchdog Live identified, customer demand drove us to extend these offers and we did so to avoid disappointment.
“It is never our intention to mislead customers. We are looking into our processes to ensure that further diligence is exercised in relation to future promotions of this nature.”