ASA bans iPhone 5 claim on O2’s website

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Five people complain after they didn’t receive the smartphone on its launch day, despite operator saying they would do if they ordered by 4pm the day before

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a claim on O2’s website stating that customers pre-ordering the iPhone 5 by 4pm the day before launch will receive it that day.

The action was taken after six complainants, five of whom had pre-ordered the smartphone and had not received it on launch day, challenged whether the claim in the FAQ section of the website was misleading.

The ASA claimed that O2 had not done enough to make clear what type of orders customers were placing, and concluded the claim was misleading and said it must not appear in its current form.

O2 had explained there were different types of orders available for the iPhone 5 before it launched. It said consumers could make a special order prior to launch which would arrive on launch day, and this was named as a pre-order.

Once O2’s stock of the smartphone was fully allocated to customers who had pre-ordered it, the operator stopped accepting pre-orders and accepted orders that would be met from future supplies which were known as ‘standard orders’.

It added pre-orders were available through a number of channels that ran out at different times in each of them. The operator did however say it should have made clear to customers buying before launch whether they had made a pre-order or standard order and those making the latter should have been told the product could take up to three weeks to dispatch. Those buying via telesales should also have been given a delivery timescale.

O2 said that all pre-orders were sent out as planned for launch day and provided additional details on how and when the items were delivered. It added standard orders should have been delivered in accordance with the timescales told to customers.

The network said the statement in question had only been placed online at 10.30pm two days before launch day as a reactive statement to clarify delivery timescales for those who made pre-orders.

It added the statement may have confused those making standard orders while the FAQ was online, believing it applied to their order, and removed the FAQ six days after launch.

The ASA said however that it did not believe the statement in question was clear enough to customers, which would instead infer that all iPhone 5 orders placed prior to 4pm the day before launch would be delivered on launch day.

It added that although O2 had explained that they had advised buying customers which type of orders they had placed, it did not consider that was sufficient to remove the misleading impression made by the claim.

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