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Takealot and Third-party Sellers Under Fire by the ARB for Misleading Advertisements

Published September 21, 2023
9 months ago

The Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) recently acted against popular online retailer, Takealot, and a number of its third-party sellers. The companies are accused of posting misleading deal promotions on the e-commerce platform's site. The complainant in the case is Buitendag Holdings (Pty) Ltd and Bumbo International Trust, both of whom have raised serious allegations concerning multiple advertisements showcasing baby fruit seats that are direct copies of their "Bumbo baby seat." These knock-off products were advertised with digitally erased branding, making it challenging for average consumers to distinguish between the genuine and the counterfeit.

Bumbo's seat sells for R649, casting a shadow over the credibility of a regular price of R2,000 that was often quoted by Takealot and the sellers. After approaching Takealot to permanently take down the misleading advertisements, the complainant continued to find inauthentic versions of their product for sale on the platform. This lack of action forced them to turn to the ARB for support.

The watchdog organisation addressed the case, and in response, Takealot expressed that it would not put itself at risk under the ARB's jurisdiction and straightforwardly denied responsibility for the counterfeit listings. The ARB subsequently contacted the sellers in question, but only received feedback from one, "Ocean Toys."

The ARB considered the complaint based on the principles of the Code of Advertising Practice and determined that Takealot and the involved parties had failed to substantiate any claims regarding the value of their product. The ARB finally expressed its resolution stating that the advertisements in contention appeared to be misleading and contravened the Code as alleged by Bumbo. When approached for a comment about the verdict, Takealot remained silent on the matter.

The story is a stark reminder of the need for consumers to vigilantly double-check products and their descriptions before making a purchase, especially where significant discounts are being offered.

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