Helpnote – Example Uses of Free
“Today’s Evening Standard magazine free with the paper” – unacceptable. A regular supplement is considered to be a standard and, therefore, inclusive part of the paper.
“Orange 200, with 200 free minutes per month” – unacceptable. Same principle as above. An existing package so the minutes are not an additional extra. Calls should be described as inclusive.
“a free book with the Guardian this Friday only” – acceptable. One off gift with a paid for item so OK as long as the price of the original item has not been inflated.
“Free Mars bar with every copy of today’s paper. Today 25p, normally 22p” – unacceptable. Even if the price inflation is not the value of the “free” item, people are paying an amount for it and so it should not be described as free.
“a free pen with every sofa bought this weekend” – acceptable. Limited sales promotion, where the customer is offered something as an additional extra for a limited period of time.
“Get our new telecoms package with free calls” – unacceptable. If it is a brand new package, it is unacceptable to describe calls as free if there is no intention to charge extra for them. This is inclusive in the overall package price.
“The new Citroen Picasso comes with free sat nav as standard” – unacceptable. A standard part of an existing package, so inclusive.
“The new Citroen Picasso comes with free alloy wheels, normally an optional extra” – acceptable. An additional extra which is normally charged for.
“EasyTalk phone package is now available with 200 free minutes per month” – acceptable. An additional extra to an existing package. But, can only be described as free for a period of six months, following that, the minutes should be described as inclusive.
“Order online for £8.50 with free delivery.” – unacceptable. If the only way of getting the product is to have it delivered, then it is an indivisible part of the package and can’t be described as free.
“Gary’s Conservatories now come with free fitting” – acceptable. Fitting was previously charged for or not part of the package, now it is an additional extra and so can be described as free for a maximum period of 6 months.
“Call Storey Carpets to get your free quote” – acceptable. Listeners pay nothing to the advertiser if they don’t take up the quote.
“Your consultation will cost only £25, and you get a free quote for fitting” – unacceptable. The quote is included in the cost of the consultation. It would be acceptable if the quote was normally charged for.