UK mobile retailer Shebang Technologies Group has had a complaint against its advertising upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority.
An email from the company and an offer on its website both promoted a ‘free’ mobile phone offer that was guaranteed for every customer. The ads were accompanied by images of several different handsets.
However, customers had to commit to a two-year minimum term contract with monthly payments. In addition, customers with lower credit ratings would either need to pay a deposit or generate a minimum spend of £50 before they could receive their phone. A Nokia C2-01 was the only mobile phone offered free to all customers.
The ASA noted that a number of significant conditions weren’t mentioned in the advertising and also discovered that the phones used to illustrate the offer weren’t all available ‘free’. In addition, it considered that paying a deposit to obtain a ‘free’ handset was not what most customers would expect.
Both the email and the online claims were ruled to have breached the Committees of Advertising Practice rules and must not be used again.