An advert for free rail ticket delivery was today banned by the advertising watchdog.

The Advertsing Standards Authority took action against Click Travel trading as after a consumer complained over the company promoting free delivery of tickets.

But a link at the bottom of the online advert in October stated: “Free delivery available via Ticket on Departure network. Fees may apply for other delivery services”.

The complainant, who understood that there was no charge for ticket collection but that consumers who wished to have tickets delivered to them would always be required to pay additional postage fees, challenged whether the claim “we’ll deliver your tickets for free” was misleading.

Click Travel acknowledged receiving the complaint but provided no “substantive response” to the ASA’s investigation.

Upholding the complaint, the ASA said the company has a “responsibility to provide a substantive response to our enquiries and told them to do so in future”.

The ASA added: “We considered consumers were likely to interpret the claim ‘we’ll deliver your tickets for free’ to mean there were no additional costs for standard delivery of their tickets to them at, for example, their homes or place of work.

“We noted that the asterisk linked to text which explained that ‘free delivery’ meant obtaining tickets via the Ticket on Departure network.

“However, that required consumers to collect their tickets from the station before departure, which we considered was not in line with the expectation they were likely to have from a claim that their tickets would be ‘delivered’ to them.

“Because charged an additional fee for standard delivery of tickets, and because we considered the qualification misleadingly contradicted, rather than clarified, the claim, we concluded that the claim breached the [advertising] code.”

Banning the advert, the ASA ruled: “We told not to claim or imply that there was no additional charge for having tickets delivered if that was not the case, and to ensure that qualifying text did not misleadingly contradict claims in the main body of the ad.”