Ofcom launches probe into TV shopping channels over claims customers are being misled by 'high-pressure' sales offers

  • Broadcaster Sit-Up Ltd is licensee for Bid TV and Price Drop TV
  • Channels breached advertising regulations 27 times
  • Said broadcaster has failed to put a stop to misleading claims

By Sean Poulter

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The bargain boasts of teleshopping TV presenters are to be investigated after a string of bogus claims were exposed.

TV regulator Ofcom has launched an inquiry after 27 complaints were upheld against Bid TV and Price Drop TV.

Misinformation about the true value of everything from fleeces to precious stones and gold-dipped jewellery are under the spotlight.

Repeated warnings: The broadcaster behind Bid TV (pictured) and Price Drop TV has breached advertising regulations 27 times

Repeated warnings: The broadcaster behind Bid TV (pictured) and Price Drop TV has breached advertising regulations 27 times

Inaccurate descriptions about products, including Swish watches which are actually made in China, will also be investigated.

 

The inquiry has been triggered by the Advertising Standards Authority, which said the company behind the two channels – Sit-Up Ltd – has failed to put a stop to the misleading claims.

'Look into my eyes... look into my eyes...'

Where the ASA has no power to act against the TV firm, Ofcom has the ability to pull it off air.

The channels specialise in presenting products which start off at a high headline price and are then gradually reduced in the hope viewers will be tempted to buy. In an attempt to create the excitement of the auction room, presenters make flowery and, sometimes outlandish, claims about the products and their value.

However, the ASA found on many occasions, the true value of the item under the hammer appears to have been exaggerated in order to convince buyers they are getting a big saving. The list of presenters employed by Bid TV includes people with a background in drama and dance.

In December, Bid TV promoted a set of three ‘Granite Outdoor Fleeces’ at a price of £19.99, falling to £16.99. One viewer complained the same items were being sold for just £4.99 elsewhere.

The ASA said: ‘Since January 2012 there have been 27 ASA rulings against Sit-Up Ltd. We are concerned that that number of misleading ads creates an on-going and cumulative risk of financial detriment to consumers.’

The TV company said it was disappointed at the Ofcom inquiry.

It said: ‘We have made significant and continuous efforts to improve our compliance performance and procedures.’

The claims versus reality
Inquiry: Misinformation about the true value of everything from fleeces to precious stones and gold-dipped jewellery are under the spotlight

Inquiry: Misinformation about the true value of everything from fleeces to precious stones and gold-dipped jewellery are under the spotlight

Probe: Where the ASA has no power to act against the TV firm, Ofcom has the ability to pull it off air

Probe: Where the ASA has no power to act against the TV firm, Ofcom has the ability to pull it off air

The comments below have not been moderated.

there is a website for feeble minded people where they have been bleating on about this for ages.they dont seem to be able to make decisions for themselves and allow themselves to buy rubbish and then complain about it.they say the presenters of this channel scaremonger which is laughable, they havent scared me into buying anything. i watch these channels for entertainment as they are amusing.

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Although I have not watched these channels for a few years now, when my daughter and son-in-law were first setting up home, we did get some excellent bargains on items such as crockery sets, cutlery and other basics. The items were good quality too, and recognised makes, eg, Russel Hobbs, Linda Barker, etc. A few years later, we then found excellent bargains on these channels for nursery items, toys and so on, again all good quality brands at greatly reduced prices. The only item I had a problem with was an electric fireplace I bought for my home. I turned it on and it packed up straight away!! However, Price Drop TV refunded my money immediately, including the £12.99 postage and packing I had paid (as it was a large item, the postage had been dearer), and also had it collected from my home free of charge. I think you just have to judge for yourself whether the item will be a bargain or not, adding on the postage and packing of course.

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I used to work for them and believe me they only care about driving sales in a blinded dogmatic way. Some of the people in charge will even ask things like jewellery to be filmed in such a way that makes them look better than they are. False representation. The managers didn't care about the complaints as long as they made their money. One of the producers who was a driving force in these merciless sales tactics to the point that the rest of the crew were treated poorly, has gone to another shopping channel that sells a lot of jewellery. Sit up just don't care.

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Unfortunately my dad loves these channels and has bought many things from them.Quite often the stuff they sell is frankly rubbish and not worth the postage and packaging,let alone any other money.Also some of the presenters are overpowering in my opinion,and these findings do not surprise me at all.I think OFCOM should use the power it is has been given and take these channels off the air,permanently.

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Once I bought a fishing rod by a so-called famous person and it came without some item. I had to call 09... and was told to send the item at my expense. I was stupid and did not complain and I just kept the rubbish. After that, I did not buy from them any more. Then I bought a platinum pendant supposedly weighed 4.9g platinum. When it came, it weighed, including the 50 point emerald, 3 grams. It was lower in price and I thought I spotted a bargain. Always make a record of the specification as the authenticity card did not say a beep about the metal weight, which in itself is sneaky, to say the least. What annoyed me most is when the presenters ask the viewers to see how sparkly the stones are whilst in fact baby oil has been used on the stone and when the item arrives, it is washed out in colour and is opaque! No more TV jewellery shopping for me as every time the recorded delivery cost me an arm and a leg! And they charge quite a lot for 9 carat gold which is just a cheap metal!

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Its very interesting that people who complain would be the same people who would buy an item in Harrods and pay up to 10 times the price you could buy the item elsewhere.But no one complains at Harrods rip off prices!If people want to waste their money then more fool them.

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Most of the shopping channels are the same. They try to convince you that the item on offer is worth far more than they're asking, is of superior quality & a real bargain. In reality, most of the items they sell are available in cheap high street shops or markets, are definitely not superior quality & are available for the same price or less than they offer it. Then of course, postage is added to everything which bumps up the total cost. I occasionally flick through these channels & watch the presenters flogging themselves to death, trying to convince people that the goods they are selling are fantastic value. They must be good actors as so many people fall for it!

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some people will buy any rubbish

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This is just like market stalls who try and make you buy their "bargains" but on a grander scale . If it sounds too good to be true it usually is - wherever you buy from

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Simple rules for shopping telly products; If it sounds too good to be true then it is, Shopping telly creates solutions for problems you don't have, if it requires an over tanned under talented waffle jockey to spend forty minutes talking about the miracle sponge then it's rubbish. Oh wait there's more, if it's 'exclusively' on shopping telly then it's tat the high street chain's didn't want in the first place.

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