3 laps up T-Mobile ad scorn


The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has partly upheld a complaint against T-Mobile from 3.

The ASA ruled that print adverts claiming T-Mobile had searched the other networks for better deals and that it guaranteed customers couldn’t find more minutes for £30 were misleading.

Adverts and brochures featured unusual places to look for minutes including the back end of a cow and a Roman urn.

3 complained saying that its Mix and Match tariff offered 1,100 minutes, 400 more than T-Mobile’s Combi 30 deal, for £27 and therefore the guarantee was false.

T-Mobile argued that as the mix and match contract was a variable allowance the deals couldn’t be compared, but the ASA upheld the complaint saying readers would expect it to be compared.

“T-Mobile’s print adverts not only misled people, but said that it had already searched the other networks for better deals,” said a 3 spokesperson.

“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.”

The ASA said in its assessment: “We noted T-Mobile believed the two plans should not be compared, but we considered that customers were likely to take into account all available mobile plans when making a purchase decision.

“We considered they were unlikely to view the fixed nature of T-Mobiles service and the variable nature of 3s service as a major difference in the context of a claim about the number of minutes available for £30.”

The ASA ruled that the press ad and brochures must not re-appear in their present form and told T-Mobile ensure they included all available plans in future comparisons.

TV adverts including the phrase “see if you can find more minutes for £30” were deemed acceptable as they were challenging the viewer to find a better deal rather than making a claim that no better deals existed.