Two television advertisements for Phones 4u have been judged misleading by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority.
The ads, which showed a number of characters being offered mobile phone upgrades, concluded with the message “Upgrades for you and you and you at Phones 4u”. Text at the bottom of the screen advised that terms and conditions applied.
A complainant made to the ASA pointed out that upgrades via Phones 4u were not available to customers on all UK networks, which suggested the ads were misleading. Phones 4u responded by saying they offered upgrades for the majority of mobile network providers and did not claim that ‘everyone’ could upgrade with them. They also said customers from networks they didn’t have a partnership agreement with could still ‘upgrade’ with Phones 4u by switching network.
In its ruling, the ASA said the ads gave the impression that everyone could upgrade with Phones 4u and that customers wouldn’t expect this to involve changing network. Although the ads included some on-screen text, the ASA considered this information wasn’t clear enough to explain that upgrades were only available on certain networks.
As a result, the regulator decided that both ads in the complaint had breached the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising rules on misleading advertising and qualification.