A Booking.com television advert aired last year has been ruled “misleading” by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
The advert, promoting the website, claimed its cancellation fee was free “most of the time”. However, this was only if customers opted for refundable booking, which was more expensive.
ASA considered consumers would understand “if you have to cancel, cancel. Most of the time it’s free” to mean that if they wished to cancel their booking, in most instances they could do so without incurring cost, and would not regard the cancellation provision as “free” because the price of the booking was more expensive when it included the cancellation option.
ASA ruled the ad was misleading and must not be broadcast again, and told Booking.com not to describe the cancellation option for rooms as “free” if a premium was paid for that option.
Booking.com will be requesting an independent review of the decision.
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