T-Mobile 'more minutes' ads banned
LONDON - T-Mobile's press and brochure ads guaranteeing that customers will not be able to find more minutes for £30 anywhere else have been banned by the advertising watchdog for misleading customers about the best deal available.
The press and brochure ads, which both claim "You won't find more minutes for £30. Guaranteed.", received a single complaint from Hutchison 3G because it believed that its most comparable tariff was Mix and Match 1100, which offered up to 1100 voice minutes for £27.
T-Mobile argued that 3's Mix and Match 1100 plan was not comparable to its Combi 30 plan because the Combi 30 offered a fixed number of minutes and texts whereas Mix and Match offered a variable allowance.
The Advertising Standards Authority upheld the complaint because the front of the brochure ad did not include qualification, and the only qualification in the press ad stated "Compared to SIM only or 18-month plans for new customers, excluding promotions".
The advertising watchdog decided that readers were likely to understand the claim "You won't find more minutes for £30. Guaranteed." as an absolute claim that, out of all SIM-only or 18-month plans for new customers, customers would not be able to get more minutes than they could with T-Mobile.
It noted that T-Mobile believed that the two plans should not be compared, but considered that customers were likely to take into account all available mobile plans when making a purchase decision.
The ASA banned the press and brochure ads, but two T-Mobile TV ads, one at a seance and another at an archaeological dig, escaped censure because they stated "See if you can find more minutes for £30" rather than "You won't find more minutes for £30" and they did not state "Guaranteed".
A spokesman for 3 said: "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."
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