A Groupon advert for cut-price breast enlargement must not appear again, The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled today.
The 24-hour deadline on the deal, which offered a discount of £3,000 on breast and nose jobs, may have rushed deal-seekers into breast enlargement they had not properly considered, said the ASA.
In a Groupon email sent out in April 2011, Manchester's Birkdale Clinic offered £5,000 worth of plastic surgery at the bargain price of £1,999... if subscribers purchased a voucher within 24 hours.
The Independent Healthcare Advisory Service and a member of the public lodged complaints against the ad on the grounds that the 24-hour deadline on the deal would hurry people into sticking their anatomy under the knife.
Groupon defended the advert by saying that they had consulted with Birkdale Clinic on the offer and that a full refund had been available to people at any time before surgery. In total, 48 out of 85 consumers who bought the vouchers had pulled out by September, Groupon said. They added that the time limit was "an indicator of their business model and was not indicative of pressure purchase tactics".
The ASA concluded that though there was a standard consultation procedure before any kind of skin-slicing or collagen insertion took place, the deal set-up didn't allow time for reflection:
We noted consumers only had 24 hours in which to buy the voucher and because of that, we considered that consumers buying the voucher would have already financially and mentally committed themselves to going ahead with a procedure.
The ASA noted that the British Association for Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) Code of Ethics prohibited date-linked incentives on surgery.
The authority ruled that the advert breached its rules on social responsibility. ®