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ASA UK Ban JT’s Misleading Unlimited Mobile Data and Text Plan Advert

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012 (8:27 am) - Score 576

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a “misleading” leaflet and website promotion for JT’s (Jersey / Guernsey Telecom) new MyMobile plans, which both falsely claimed to offer “unlimited” texts and Mobile Broadband data. Separately Virgin Media failed in its effort to get a TalkTalk advert banned.

In both cases the JT adverts included a line in the small print that referenced a Fair Usage Policy (FUP) and then went on to completely contradict the opening claim: “Unlimited plans are subject to a fair usage policy of 2,000 texts per month and 500MB of data per day“.

ASA Assessment (REF: A12-205186)

We considered that “unlimited” claims were likely to be acceptable for telecommunications services that were subject to provider-imposed limitations if they did not restrict or limit a service in a manner contrary to the average consumer’s expectations of an “unlimited” service. We considered that the average consumer taking up the advertisers’ unlimited text and data contract was likely to understand that they would incur no additional charge or suspension of service as a consequence of exceeding any usage threshold associated with a FUP.

However, we noted that the complainant had been charged as a consequence of exceeding a usage threshold associated with the FUP in this case and considered that this demonstrated that users could suffer restrictions likely to be contrary to the average consumer’s expectations of the service.”

Suffice to say that the ASA found the ad to be “misleading” and called for it not to appear again in its current form.

Separately Virgin Media failed to have the ASA ban an advert for TalkTalk’s broadband service (here), which boasted about being “Britain’s best phone and broadband deal … Better value than Sky, BT and Virgin“. The ASA ruled that it was NOT misleading because “the claim would be understood by consumers to refer to price, and TalkTalk had provided substantiation for the claim.” Own goal.

Leave a Comment
1 Response
  1. Avatar DTMark

    “The ASA ruled that it was NOT misleading because “the claim would be understood by consumers to refer to price””

    Er, no, the advert says, “value”. Value and price are not the same thing, so I can’t see how they can conflate the two.

    What the ASA seem to be saying is that if one shop sells, say, 200g of coffee for £1 and a second shop sells 100g of the same coffee for 90p, the latter is better value.

    Or that 200g of the cheap own brand for £1 is better value than the same quantity of Illy Espresso at the same price.

    Tesco would be proud of them!

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