ASA gives T-Mobile a wrap on the knuckles

What Mobile
November 19, 2008

According to a 3 spokesperson that spoke to trade newspaper Mobile News, “T-Mobile’s print adverts not only misled people, but said that it had already searched the other networks for better deals.

“There’s really no need to look up the back end of a cow or in a Roman urn. T-Mobile and its customers could have saved themselves time and money by looking on 3’s website or in their local 3 Store.”

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) partly upheld 3’s complaint against T-Mobile for its flawed “£30 minutes ‘guarantee'” that was advertising throughout the summer.

The ASA ruled that adverts claiming T-Mobile had searched the other networks for better deals to prove customers couldn’t find more minutes for £30 were misleading. Adverts featured unusual places to look for minutes, including the back end of a cow, a Roman urn and the mouth of a lion.

3 complained saying that its Mix and Match tariff offered 1,100 minutes, 400 more than T-Mobile’s Combi 30 deal, and for just £27. Therefore it was claimed that the guarantee was false.

T-Mobile argued that the 3 tariff was a variable allowance but the ASA upheld the complaint, saying the public would expect it to be compared.

The ASA said: “We noted T-Mobile believed the two plans should not be compared, but we considered that customers were likely to take into account all available mobile plans when making a purchase decision. We considered they were unlikely to view the fixed nature of T-Mobiles service and the variable nature of 3’s service as a major difference in the context of a claim about the number of minutes available for £30.”

Press adverts and brochures must not re-appear in their present form and T-Mobile must now include all available price plans for future comparisons.

However, TV adverts that included the phrase “see if you can find more minutes for £30” were deemed acceptable as they were challenging the viewer to find a better deal rather than making a claim that no better deals existed.



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