Vodafone Samsung B520 Instore Advertisement
19 December 2008
Complainant: J. Ikin
Advertisement: Vodafone New Zealand Limited
Noel Leeming Group Limited
Dick Smith Electronics (NZ) Limited
Complaint: The in-store advertisement for the Vodafone Samsung B520 mobile phone listed the price and the features of the phone. It said:
B520 Blue Vodafone Live! Mobile
o MUSIC PLAYER
o FM RADIO
o NETWORK CONNECTION REQUIRES PURHCASE OF A $34.99
Complainant, J. Ikin, was of the view that the advertisement was misleading as the phone did not contain a FM radio or music player as advertised.
The relevant provision was Rule 2 of the Code of Ethics.
The Advertiser, Vodafone New Zealand Limited, said:
"We refer to your letter.
The Bond + Bond advertisement attached to this complaint was not prepared by Vodafone, While Vodafone does approve certain brand related advertisements, we had no input into or control over this advertisement (which appears to be an in-store Bond + Bond price card for the Samsung B520 handset) or its counterpart in any Dick Smith Electronics store,
We are, however, able to provide some background to this matter.
The handset in question is the Samsung B520, We understand that the inconsistencies between the advertising material for this handset and the actual product that was sold to customers arose because of inaccurate product specifications provided to sales channels by Samsung. This error was identified by Samsung at the end of October 2008 and following communication to the relevant parties, the relevant advertising material was replaced.
We sympathise with the complainant for any inconvenience this has caused them. We suggest this matter be taken up with the relevant stores and/or Samsung.
Please contact me if you require any further clarification on any matters raised in this letter."
The Advertiser, Noel Leeming Group Limited, said:
"We acknowledge that our price ticket contained incorrect information. This information had been supplied by Vodafone and we had acted on this when producing the price ticket. We have replaced the ticket once we became aware of the problem.
We produce our own price tickets so no agency was involved in this case."
The Advertiser, Dick Smith Electronics (NZ), said:
"It was with regret that we received the above complaint regarding the Samsung B520 mobile phone "Product".
All complaints are of serious concern to our business, and are subjected to the same rigorous investigation process. The outcome of our investigation into the above complaint is as follows:
1. We first ranged the Product on 16th October and instructed our stores to display this by 1st November.
2. We are reliant on our suppliers to supply us with the specifications and details for the products that we sell in our stores.
3. In this case, we obtained information regarding the Product specifications and features from the Samsung website, (see attached a copy of the Samsung specifications for the Product, downloaded from the Samsung website on 28th October).
4. Replica models for the display were supplied directly to our stores from Samsung and displayed on the cellular display fixture.
5. Our instore ticketing for the Product in question included FM radio, MP3 player expandable memory as well as the price. The instore ticket for the Product was created internally from the information from the Samsung website and accurately reflected the information on the Samsung website.
6. We were first made aware that Samsung had provided us with the incorrect specification for the Product via a telephone call from our Matamata store on the 28th October.
7. We immediately sent a corrected ticket and an apology ticket to all of our retail stores (see attached copies). Our website was also updated with the correct information. Bother of these remedial actions were carried out on 28th October.
8. We also notified both Vodafone and Samsung about the error on 28th October. Attached is the follow up from Vodafone and Samsung that was sent to all retailers on 31st October.
9. We sent the stores instructions on how to remove the replica display model screen information which featured an icon advertising the MP3 player on 30th October (attached).
It is never our intention to make false representations of any product, and for this error we sincerely apologise.
As you will appreciate from the results of our investigation, the incorrect advertising and display of the Product between 16th and 28th October was beyond our control as we were referencing both display models and information provided by Samsung and to the best of our knowledge was an industry-wide issue.
We believe that that we undertook all actions available to us to remedy the issue once discovered.
It would be our preference to settle this matter with our customer and to have the opportunity to make things right. To this end we would appreciate it if the Advertising Standards Authority could seek permission for us to contact the customer directly.
We would welcome an opportunity to discuss this issue further with the Advertising Standards Authority prior to it making any decision. If you wish to discuss this matter please do not hesitate to contact me via the contact details supplied below."
The Chairman read the explanations received from the Advertisers. She noted that the advertisement had been amended in a self-regulatory manner once the matter had been brought to the attention of the Advertisers. Accordingly, she said the matter had been settled and that it would serve no further purpose to place it before the Complaints Board.
The Chairman ruled the complaint was settled.
Chairman's Ruling: Complaint Settled