During Valve's Steam Sale this past Summer, fans were outraged at what they perceived was bait-and-switch by the company regarding Grand Theft Auto V and various bundles. The UK's Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that Valve had indeed misled customers deliberately during the sale.
What angered customers was that during the sale, it seemed like Grand Theft Auto V was advertised as being on a 25-30% discount. However, clicking the ad took gamers to Grand Theft Auto V bundles which included bonuses like Grand Theft Auto Online cash cards, or Grand Theft Auto V bundled with another game like Max Payne 3 or Grand Theft Auto III: San Andreas.
Worse, the original Grand Theft Auto V did appear in the sale briefly, but was quickly pulled from the Steam store entirely. This meant players could only buy it with a bundle its normal base price or a very low discount of one or two dollars off. Gamers who already owned those games included in the bundle received no benefit at all, and, of course, some gamers weren't interested in those games in the first place. In other words, the game that was advertised as being on sale wasn't available to purchase on sale.
The ASA ruled that Valve was indeed culpable of bait-and-switch, stating that advertising a sale with the original game and a bundle side-by-side was misleading, especially when Valve pulled the original game from the store. In addition, the bundles never existed before the sale so therefore they weren't sales. "The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Steam to ensure their future savings claims did not mislead about the benefits available," warned the agency.
This adds a bit of irony to Valvea few weeks ago that there was "no long-term benefit in allowing ads on Steam".