Vodafone Website Advertisement
Meeting 7 November 2006
Advertisement: Vodafone New Zealand Ltd
Complaint: The website promotion was headed up "Got Mates on Telecom?" then went on to state:
"Well its time for them for to trade up now because right now at Vodafone you can give us your Telecom mobile, connect to a 24 month You Choose TM plan and take a Sony Ericsson V600i 3G mobile for FREE.
Offer valid 11th September to 1st November or while stocks last when you trade in and sign up to a You Choose TM plan for a minimum of 24 months.
Traded in handsets must be connected to 025 or 027 network at the time of sale, be able to power on and be complete with battery.
Telecom customers are responsible for disconnecting their Telecom connection and for any early disconnection fees which may apply.
Vodafone terms and conditions apply."
It also provided a link to these term and conditions.
The Complainant, J. Comer, said:
"Where: I have seen this advertisment in all vodafone stores and the NZ Herald.
Product: Free Mobile phone
The advertisment states Quote:
"Got mates on Telecom? Well, it's time for them to trade up because right now at Vodafone you can give us your Telecom mobile, connect to a 24 month You ChooseT plan and take a Sony Ericsson V600i 3G mobile for FREE.
Offer valid 11th September to 1st November or while stocks last when you trade in and sign up to a You ChooseT plan for a minimum of 24 months"
See below link for all details
I am an exitsting vodafone customer who is NOT on a "You-Choose" plan or any fixed term contrat at this present time. I currently have a Telecom prepay fone also. I read the above statment as if i bring in my working telecom phone and connect up my existing number to a "You-Chose" 24 month contract (as im currently not on a fixed contract) this deal would apply to me as it does not mention anywhere in the advertisment it must be a NEW connection, which vodafone is stating it must be."
The Chairman ruled that the following provisions were relevant:
Code of Ethics
Rule 2: Truthful Presentation - Advertisements should not contain any statement or visual presentation or create an overall impression which directly or by implication, omission, ambiguity or exaggerated claim is misleading or deceptive, is likely to deceive or mislead the consumer, makes false and misleading representation, abuses the trust of the consumer or exploits his/her lack of experience or knowledge. (Obvious hyperbole, identifiable as such, is not considered to be misleading).
The Advertiser, Vodafone New Zealand Ltd, also on behalf of the Agency, Creative Juice, said:
"We write in response to the above complaint which you provided to us under cover of your letter of 28 September 2006. This response is on behalf of Vodafone and Creative Juice. The complaint alleges that Vodafone's Telecom trade up offer is 'false advertising'.
- The offer is quite clear in that order to get the free Sony Ericsson V600i and connect to a You Choose term plan, you would need to be a Telecom customer and trade in your working Telecom mobile phone. The offer ends 1 November 2006 or while stocks last.
- For example and is the case with the complainant, if a Telecom customer (with a Vodafone connection too) wished to take up this offer then they would need to take in their working Telecom mobile phone and are then connected to a You Choose 24 month plan as set out in the offer. The offer does not contemplate nor allow existing Voolafone customers transferring from their current plans (whether it is Prepay or On Account) to a You Choose plan.
- In order for the complainant to take up the Telecom trade in offer, he would have had to connect to a You Choose plan as stated in the offer. As he correctly stated he would not be able to transfer his existing Vodafone plan to a You Choose plan.
- The offer is designed to exclude existing Vodafone customers due to the fact that Vodafone currently has similar offers in store for existing customers and an exactly the same offer being launched next week.
5. These offers are as follows:
- For Vodafone's existing customers: they can sign up to a You Choose 60 on a 24 month term and get a Sony Ericsson V600i for $99. This offer has been in store throughout the Telecom Trade In promotion.
- Vodafone has a Direct Mail piece going out to 20,000 existing customers on Monday, 16 October, This will be the same offer as the Telecom Trade In offer. An existing customer can sign up to any You Choose plan with a minimum term of 24 months and get a Sony Ericsson V600i for free
- Please be advised that the Telecom trade in campaign is likely to be withdrawn this week and in store promotions removed this weekend (14 October) due to the Sony Ericsson V600i stock for this promotion running out.
- We trust that this addresses any questions the Board may have but are, of course, happy to answer any questions or provide any further information which the Board may find helpful."
The Complaints Board reviewed the advertisement and the correspondence relating to the Complaints before it.
The Chairman directed the Board to consider the Complaint with regard to Rule 2 of the Code of Ethics requiring truthful presentation.
The Board noted the concerns of the Complainant in relation to the promotion - in particular that the Complainant had not been able to convert his existing Vodafone account to the You Choose plan under this promotion.
The Board agreed that the details of the promotion had been clearly listed on the website and additional details had been available through a link to terms and conditions. The Board also agreed that it was clear the promotion was targeted at current Telecom customers that Vodafone was trying to convert to their mobile service. The Board noted that in its response Vodafone advised other similar offers were available to existing Vodafone customers under a different promotion.
The Board agreed that the advertisement was not misleading or deceptive and therefore not in breach of Rule 2 of the Code of Ethics.
Accordingly, the Board ruled to not uphold the complaint.
Decision: Complaint Not Upheld