FutureFive NZ - Telecom advert likely to mislead – ASA

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Telecom advert likely to mislead – ASA

The Advertising Standards Association has ruled in favour of 2degrees over a complaint it lodged against Telecom regarding misleading advertising.
In the advertising Telecom claimed that due to 2degrees’ call rounding policy, prepaid calls on the 2degrees network may cost more than calls made on Telecom’s One Rate PrePaid plan.
However in the ASA’s view the statement in the advertisement relating to that claim contained an element of ambiguity. In addition, the advert also failed to reference 2degrees in a comparative text box. The ASA found the advert in breach of Rule 2 of the Code of Ethics and Guideline (b) of the Code for Comparative Advertising.
In a statement 2degrees CEO Eric Hertz says the company is pleased with the outcome.
“It was never in doubt that we would win. Even Telecom’s representatives at the ASA hearing acknowledged that our pre-pay pricing was cheaper than theirs,” he says.
Telecom spokesperson Nick Brown says the ASA found in Telecom’s favour on one of the complaints and in 2degrees’ favour on the other.
“The ad was not intended as a direct price comparison, its purpose was simply to highlight that with Telecom’s One Second Billing, after the first minute, you only pay for the time you are on the call. And that other providers don’t offer that on prepaid,” he says.
“We respect the ASA’s decision and we will amend the advertisement. IT was a very small part of a large, and successful, Christmas catalogue so we will apply a sticker over the ad in question. It was intended that this change will be completed by today.”
Hertz claims Telecom has been “heel-dragging” in the removal of the offending advertising material from their stores.
“I’m firmly of the opinion that they deliberately delayed complying with the ASA’s order to ensure the material remained available during the holiday buying season.”
But Brown refutes this. “There was no intention to denigrate or disparage Two Degrees’ calling offers - in fact we wish them luck for the busy Christmas selling season.”

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