This is one of a number of pages where we reproduce misleading adverts by our competitors, with our comments about how we believe they misinform.
Gold Sovereign Coins from £35 Each
This was the incredible headline of a newspaper advert we saw recently.
This price was too good to be true, particularly as it was below the scrap gold value.
Who is This Villain?
We scrutinised the advert carefully, wondering what sort of charlatan or fraudster would use such a misleading claim in their advert. To our astonishment it turned out to to be none other than the Royal Mint !
We, at Chard, believe in honesty in all our dealings, and try hard to keep all our wording as accurate and unambiguous as possible, idiot-proof being our somewhat optimistic aim. Naturally we do not expect all others to use similar high standards, but we do expect bodies such as the Royal Mint to set a good example in their advertising, after all, if we cannot trust their written word, how can we trust the quality of their products, or their other ethical standards? They are, directly or indirectly, one of our major suppliers, and it is a potential cause of concern to us that a major supplier should publish such an unfair and misleading advert.
The Get-Out Clause
After reading all of the advert, including the small print, we concluded that the "gold sovereign coins" they were referring to were in fact half sovereigns, their sovereigns were priced at £69.95 Perhaps their marketing department have been taking lessons from Dixon's.
We brought the advert directly to the attention of the Royal Mint, and also to our trade association, the BNTA whose council considered the advert before writing to the Royal Mint to pass on our concern. So far we have had no feedback from The Mint, hardly reassuring!
We assume that when they do reply, they will say that half sovereigns are a type of sovereign. Perhaps this explanation would stand up in a Court of Law, but we are doubtful, and we still believe that the wording in the advert would be more appropriate to Barnum and Bailey than The Old Bailey.
We may be slightly old fashioned, but we believe government agencies should set a shining example of honesty in all their dealings including advertising.
So what's wrong with the offending headline and advert?
We believe this advert causes problems or harm in at least three different ways:-
1. Customers buying as a result of this advert, may order a half sovereign at £35 mistakenly believing they are buying a sovereign.
Because they are buying from a government agency, they may believe that the advert is factually accurate and unambiguous,
2. Other dealers may be harmed because people may be mislead into believing that their prices are higher than the Royal Mint's (Our price is £65 for sovereigns, £32.50 for half sovereigns.)
3. The general public may be mislead into believing that the price of sovereigns is around £35.
There are also other possible effects:- It can only be a matter of time before someone telephones us to tell us our year 2000 gold sovereigns are overpriced at £65 each because the Royal Mint are selling them at only £35. They will probably take some convincing!
This will waste our time and theirs.
We will naturally advise them to read the small print of the advert, and to carefully avoid ever buying from such misleading advertisers. They would get accurate information from us, we believe in honesty and accuracy in our advertising, so they would get better information, more knowledgeable advice, and lower prices. Actually our service is usually faster, too!
Source, Author & Copyright.
This page was originally published on one of our websites back in 2000, although we believe it still has relevance today.
Written by Lawrence Chard of Chard Coins. Any images and text are copyright and remain our intellectual property.
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