Sportsdirect.com advertised a pair of Karrimor walking boots in February for £37, with a crossed out price of £84.99 next to it.
A shopper bought the boots in store and found that the price was £41.99, and that they had a label attached showing an earlier price of £79.99.
This prompted a complaint that the crossed out higher price of £84.99 was misleading and it was not possible to buy the boots for £37 either in store or without paying a delivery charge.
Sports Direct said the higher price was a recommended retail price (RRP), and they had a price list from the manufacturer which showed the recommended price for the boots as £85.
Sports Direct said they could demonstrate the cost was a genuine selling price in the market because the same boots continued to be available on Karrimor’s website at the price of £84.99.
The retailer also said it was possible for customers to buy the boots for £37 online plus the delivery or collection charge, which they said was clearly displayed.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said consumers would understand that the crossed out price of £84.99 was the usual selling price of the boots at the time the ad appeared, from which Sports Direct were offering a reduction.
ASA said: “We therefore expected to see evidence to demonstrate that £84.99 was the price at which the boots were usually sold by Sports Direct. Because we had not seen any such evidence, we concluded that the ad was misleading.”
It also said consumers would assume that there would be no delivery cost for the boots already in stock in physical stores, and that they would cost £37 in shops rather than have the £41.99 price tag which the shopper paid.
The ASA said: “Because it was not possible to obtain the boots for £37, and because the ad did not make clear that £37 was an online price, before delivery, we concluded that the ad was misleading.”