Pontins in a mess over false claims – but not for Ainsdale site

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Fitted kitchen? It’s just a toaster: Pontins ordered to change promotional material after duping customers by offering self-catering chalets with no oven or sink

Advertising Standards Agency rules holiday firm had misled customers

Holiday camp specialist Pontins is keen to move away from its battered chalet and Hi-de-Hi image.

The firm’s brochure promised a ‘New Pontins’ and was filled with glossy images beautiful self-catering apartments, including fitted kitchens.

However, travellers to one of its parks were perturbed to discover that their fitted kitchen amounted to a toaster, microwave and fridge – all squeezed in to one of the bedrooms.

Pontins Southport: The holiday camp firm has been rapped by the Advertising Standards Authority for falsely claiming its suites came with fitted kitchens

The Advertising Standards Authority has ordered the holiday company to change its brochures on the grounds they risk misleading customers.

The brochure under the spotlight was advertising breaks at all its parks, including the Pakefield Holiday Resort, in Suffolk.

Several images of the accommodation were featured, including one of a kitchen where a hob, oven and sink were clearly visible.

The text boasted that as well as using the restaurants on site, the kitchens give visitors ‘the ability to prepare and cook your meals in the comfort of your own apartment’.

This point was reinforced with the claim: ‘The apartments include a fitted kitchen, private bathroom, lounge with TV’.

Family fun: Pontins has been keen to move away from its battered chalet and Hi-de-Hi image

There were also three images to show apartment plans, all of which outlined a defined kitchen area with an oven and sink.

However, the reality of most of the apartments at Pakefield was that they contained what Pontins describes as a ‘petite kitchenette’ with no sink or oven.

The ASA said it was clear that the majority of their self-catering apartments only had a toaster, microwave and fridge.

It said the company’s failure to make this clear and to provide the hob and sink that most families would expect in a kitchen was misleading.

The ASA said: ‘Consumers would understand the descriptor ‘self-catering’ to mean that the apartments included the facilities to enable them to prepare and cook a family meal, such as a hob, oven and sink, rather than simply a fridge, toaster and microwave. Therefore, we concluded that the ad was misleading.

‘We told Pontins to ensure they clearly communicated to their customers what facilities were offered in their self-catering apartments, and not to state or imply that all those apartments included a fitted kitchen if that was not the case.’

In its defence, Pontins said there was smallprint in the brochure to say the images were ‘for illustrative purposes only’.

The firm said it has also added information to its website to spell out what the accommodation has to offer, while call centre staff also provide full details of what is in each apartment at the time of booking.



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