Thoughts from an active pensioner who is now somewhat past his Biblical "Use-by date"

"Why just be difficult, when with a little more effort you can be bloody impossible?"

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Advertising Standards

I recently purchased a TomTom GPS unit from John Lewis,
I did so after searching the Web for and comparing the various makes and models which were available, and of course the prices.
 The TomTom appeared to have a good reputation, and I chose the latest model "XXL IQ Routes" after deciding that I didn't want live updates to warn me of traffic jams and re-route me if necessary, as I don't do a big enough mileage these days to justify the subscription. This was the top of the range model without this facility.
One of the features that I liked as shown on their web site was the latest map guarantee
I tried out the unit on a couple of short trips, and a few days later decided to connect it to my computer and update the maps. This was the message that came up:

(click image for larger version)

In other words, although I had complied with the requirement of downloading the updates well within 30 days of purchase, they wanted £15.90 for the update, as there had been two quarterly updates since this model came out. Not quite what their web page said! 

I complained to John Lewis (as the retailer), and without any hesitation they refunded the cost of the update, which is the reason that I usually to shop there as I have found their customer service is second to none.

I also lodged a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority, but it would appear that they can't take any action against this type of statement on a company's web site, as one has chosen to access it much in the same way as when one walks into a store an asks the salesman for information, which they also don't control..

In that most technical information about most products is now generally only available on the web, it seems that the only way of ensuring one gets what one wants is to specifically ask the salesman about every feature in which one might be interested and not to be fobbed off with "have a look at the manufacturer's web site".

Full marks for John Lewis; Zero for the ASA.

And the moral?

Don't believe a word that you read on a manufacturer's web site!

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