Monday, 21 June 2010

There's no need to read the small print when the T's & C's are obvious

The ASA will not come to the assistance of a complainant simply because he or she misunderstood or didn’t properly read an advertisement.

Last week the ASA dismissed a consumer complaint against Wireless Hotspot (Pty) Ltd which advertised a “30 Day Broadband Pass”. The advertisement bears the following copy: “Limited Edition! Get up to 27GB of data with this awesome 30-Day Broadband Pass! This Pass is valid for 30 days from purchase and offers prices on all our mediums such as 3G at 35c per MB, Wi-Fi at 28c per MB and ADSL from 1,4c per MB!”

The complainant reported that he was only able to transfer 1.1 GB of data using a 3G connection from the voucher purchased and submitted that the advertising was accordingly misleading. In response, Wireless Hotspot pointed out that the voucher will be deducted at different rates depending on the type of connection used. It submitted that the advertising truly reflects the actual bandwidth available i.e. “3G at 35c per MB, etc”.

The Directorate noted that the complainant laboured under the misapprehension that he would receive 27GB of data simply because of the reliance he placed on the wording “Get up to 27GB of data...”. It noted that the hypothetical reasonable person, however, would be able to gauge how much data he or she would get, depending on the connection used, by the wording “3G at 35c per MB, etc”. It is clear from the wording of the advertisement that the mode of connection (i.e. 3G, Wi-Fi or ADSL) would directly influence the amount of data available and that 27GB falls on the high end of the scale.

In dismissing the complaint, the Directorate stated that the advertisement is sufficiently clear and does not convey a misleading claim.

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