licensee in John Smith’s boycott vow over ‘misleading’ horse-racing promotion

A Worcestershire licensee has said he will never stock John Smith’s in his pub again after claiming he was “misled” and “deceived” over a horse-racing promotion.

Kevin Gallon, of the Kings Arms, in Redditch, has reported the Heineken-owned brand John Smith’s to trading standards in Worcestershire after he was told he could order only a maximum of five tickets for a race meeting at Stratford-upon-Avon.

The promo from the brewer allows licensees to purchase the tickets on a buy-one-get-one-free promotion just for stocking the ale. John Smith’s website stated that “there is NO LIMIT to the number of free tickets you can claim so make the most of this fantastic racing offer”. However, the Punch licensee was told by Stratford Racecourse that he could order only five tickets (10 in total) as part of the deal.

While Gallon has now received the 26 tickets he wanted for his customers, he had to make three separate orders through different postcodes, which cost him an extra £26 in postage and packaging.

“The advert was misleading and deceitful. I have got the tickets under duress,” said Gallon. “I shall never use them [John Smith’s] again or go to Stratford Races.”

Worcestershire trading standards department confirmed it was looking into the matter. A spokesperson said: “We are aware of a complaint and it is under investigation.”

Responding to the complaint, a spokesman for John Smith’s said: “The two-for-one ticket promotion has been running for three years without any issues. More than 13,000 licensees and pub customers took advantage of the offer in 2011 and we will take up the complaint with Stratford Racecourse.”

John Smith’s has now amended its website accordingly.