3.4.6. Limited in time free conditional-purchase promotions

The assessment becomes more complex when free conditional-purchase promotions are run on a time-limited or channel-limited basis, or on an invariable, long-term, channel-neutral basis. The basic principle remains that when a customer is told that an item is "free" when another item is bought, the customer has the right to believe that the trader will not directly seek to recover any of the "free" item's cost by marking up the item's price that has to be bought or by the substitution of inferior merchandise.

Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that, to demonstrate that an item is genuinely being supplied for free, conditional on the purchase of another item, traders must be able to show:

(i) either that the free item is genuinely additional to the item(s) usually sold for that price or that the free item is genuinely separable from the paid-for item(s);

(ii) that, unless the customer complies with the terms of the promotion, they do not supply the "free" item with the paid-for item(s); and

(iii) that consumers are aware of the stand-alone price of the item(s) they are paying for and that that price remains the same with or without the free item.

For example, assuming that the paid-for item's quality and composition are not reduced and its price is not inflated to cover the cost of the free item:


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