Dell Computers has been banned from showing a television advert that misleads customers over the price of one of its PC systems.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) found that the ad breached Committee of Advertising Practice broadcast rule 5.1 on misleading advertising and upheld the complaint against Dell by a member of the public.
The decision was taken despite the Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre (BACC) testifying on Dell's behalf that in its opinion the ad was not misleading.
The advert featured a son listing the features of a Dell PC to his father, including the phrase: "Well, it's got a P4 3.46GHz processor, 256MB PCI Express Graphics, 5.1 surround sound speakers."
The scene then changed to show the father sitting at his computer followed by a shot of a Dell sales assistant and an advert for the Dell Dimension 1100 which was £489 but now costs £399.
The customer complained that the advert implied that the Dell Dimension 1100 PC had the specifications listed by the son, when in fact it did not.
The BACC said that the father and son sequence was separate to the second part of the ad and that the PC offer at the end clearly listed what was included in the package.
However, the ASA was not convinced and told Dell not to show the advert again in its current form.
"We considered that the screen shots of the father and a Dell sales assistant were likely to be understood as a continuation of the father and son sequence and implied that the PC advertised for £399 included the specifications listed at the beginning of the ad," the ASA ruling said.
"We considered the ad was ambiguous because it did not make clear that the PC advertised for £399 at the end of the ad was different to the PC described at the beginning of the ad."
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