The UK’s advertising watchdog has reproached Barnes and Noble after the company failed to provide enough stock for a price promotion.
The device soon sold out at retailers including Argos and John Lewis, as well as Barnes and Noble’s own website.
The stock shortages prompted a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority from a consumer challenging whether there was sufficient availability of the product at the advertised price.
Responding to the ASA’s investigation, B&N admitted that it had under estimated demand for the devices.
The firm said its had anticipated sales would increase between 10 and 20 times the previous sales levels, and that on the day before the promotion started they and their UK retail partners had total stock of over 20 times the previous three months’ average sales.
However the campaign sparked a sales spike more than 120 times the normal rate, leading to retailer stock being depleted.
They also claimed that “the product was not fully out of stock until after the complaint was submitted.”
Defending its subsequent actions, Barnes & Noble told the ASA “that as a result of the availability issues they took remedial action, including placing an “out of stock” message on their UK website. They also instructed their advertising agency on 3 May to stop running the ad.
“They said they were incorporating the information learned during the promotion into their planning process for future ‘deep’ discounts and would also take this into account when planning similar ad campaigns in the future.”
Despite the firm’s defence, the ASA ruled that the advert breached advertising rules on availability and misleading advertising.
In its ruling, the ASA said: “The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Barnes & Noble to ensure that when running promotions in future they ensured they made a reasonable estimate of the likely response to the offer.”