Pakefield: Holiday firm Pontins rapped over ‘misleading’ accommodation advertising

Pontins at Pakefield

Pontins at Pakefield - Credit: Archant

The firm which owns a north Suffolk holiday park has been rapped over a misleading advertising brochure which said its self-catering apartments had fitted kitchens, when it fact they only had a microwave and toaster.

Britannia Jinky Jersey Ltd had produced a “New Pontins” brochure for all its parks which mislead guests by saying its Pakefield site, near Lowestoft, had self-catering accommodation which would give visitors ‘the ability to prepare and cook your meals in the comfort of your own apartment’.

Several images of Pontins’ accommodation were featured in the brochure, including an image of a kitchen where a hob, oven and sink were clearly visible

However in reality most of the self catering apartments just had what was described as a “petite kitchen” with toaster, fridge and microwave and a limited number also had a hob and sink.

The Advertising Standards Agency (Asa) has now told Britannia Jinky Jersey Ltd that the advertisement in the brochure must not be allowed to appear in its current form again.

The Asa acted after someone complained that their fitted kitchen in their self-catering accommodation actually consisted of a microwave, toaster and a fridge, which were all in one bedroom.

The complainant had challenged whether the advertisement “misleadingly implied that the self-catering apartments would include a fully equipped kitchen”.

Most Read

In its judgement the Asa upheld the complaint.

Its ruling 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.”

The Asa added: “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.”

In a response to the complaint Brittannia Jinky Jersey Ltd said the New Pontins brochure for all its parks had used images for its popular class apartments, which had fitted kitchens, and not the more rudimentary club or classic class ones at Pakefield.

The company said the Pakefield resort was being developed during the time the brochure was going to print and so it could not make use of images of its apartments.

It also told the Asa a disclaimer in the brochure did say: “The new apartments shown in the images are examples and used for illustrative purposes only”.

The company added the brochure “did not claim that the apartments had a fitted kitchen”.

It has since added further information on the relevant pages of the firm’s website showing the different accommodation options available at the resort and also call centre staff gave out the full details of what was in each apartment at the time of booking.

In November 2010 Pontins the company went into administration, with the Britannia Hotels Group acquiring all five Pontins sites nationwide the following February in what was believed to be a £20m deal with administrators KPMG.