The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a Groupon email advert that offered consumers the chance to receive breast augmentation and rhinoplasty at less than half price if they booked it within a 24 hour window.
While Groupon, which offers time-limited daily deals to its subscribers, has said that it does not think the advert "encouraged a frivolous or rushed decision to purchase the voucher," the ASA thinks otherwise. After receiving a complaint from a member of the public and the Healthcare Advisory Service, the Groupon advert was investigated.
"We considered that the decision to undergo physically invasive procedures was one that required substantial consideration," said the ASA. "We noted consumers only had 24 hours in which to buy the voucher and because of that, we considered that consumers buying the voucher would have already financially and mentally committed themselves to going ahead with a procedure."
The Guardian (opens in new tab) reports that the original email offered consumers an over 50 per cent discount on the surgery as long as they responded before midnight on the day the coupon was made available. Sent out in May this year, the plan was for the operations to take place in the latter parts of November. Apparently 85 people signed up to the scheme, though throughout the consultation period 48 of those interested cancelled and requested a refund.
The ASA noted that promotions like this, where discounts were offered in consideration of a deadline, went against the ethical code run by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS (opens in new tab)).