Merlin Entertainments has received a reprimand from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) following “misleading” marketing of its annual passes.
The products were offered in a sale at the end of last year, as part of the company’s usual sale held each year.
However the ASA ruled that an email sent to existing Merlin Annual Pass holders was misleading, as was marketing material on the product’s website.
Emails sent holders of the pass invited them to renew for “super-slashed” prices, although the price was in excess of those paid by customers after 26 December last year, as part of the new sale.
The ASA said that despite being promoted as a ‘January Sale’, the prices for renewals increased by a maximum of £30 for a premium annual pass renewal and £7.70 for a standard one.
The authority ruled that the advertisements must not appear again in their current form.
“We told Merlin Entertainments Group Ltd to ensure they held sufficient evidence to substantiate their marketing claims, that they did not misleadingly imply that their prices were valid for a longer period of time than they were, and to ensure their savings claims were accurate and reflected a genuine saving,” the ruling read.
22 complaints were made by the public to the ASA.