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Watchdog sinks its teeth into Groupon again over misleading Botox offer

13 March 2012

MyCityDeal Ltd, trading as Groupon, has been rapped by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over a promotion for cosmetic facial injection treatments.

The ASA ruled that Groupons promotion could be interpreted to suggest that the voucher holder was able to claim for botox, a prescription-only service which was not available to voucher holders. The agency ruled that the ad must not be shown again in its current form.

Groupon is a persistent offender of UK advertising law and in 2011 was referred to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) by the ASA for almost 50 beaches over 11 months.

Nina Best, a specialist in advertising law at Browne Jacobson, commented:

"This will be devastating news for Groupon as it will have been well advised to keep a clean sheet particularly whilst the investigation is on-going.

"The OFT is focusing heavily on online activities at the moment and unless Groupon is able to evidence that it is not committing offences contrary to Consumer Protection Regulations there is a significant risk that it will find itself facing financial penalties. In addition, the losses that Groupon may suffer due to the adverse publicity may be crippling.

"Groupon would be well advised to start putting systems and procedures in place to ensure that all of its activities are subject to legal compliance checks to start mitigating its potential breaches as well as rebuilding consumer confidence in the brand."

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