Complaint: 11/385

Vodafone Direct Mail Advertisement


D. Handley
Unaddressed Mail
Upheld / Settled
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Chairman's Ruling

7 September 2011

Complaint 11/385

Complainant: D. Handley
Advertisement: Vodafone New Zealand Limited

Complaint: The direct mail advertisement for Vodafone advertised the Samsung Galaxy S "FREE on a new 24 month Smart2 plan $799 RRP Handset only". It also advertised the Smart Plans and featured, amongst other things, the plan: "Smart2 $61.30 per month on a 24 month plan gets you:

  • 120 anytime minutes (usually 60)
  • 600 any network TXTs (increases to 2500 from July)
  • 250MB data*"

Complainant, D. Handley, said they went down to the Vodafone store in Browns Bay to sign up to the Smart2 plan so they could receive the free Samsung Galaxy S but "they were told that the advertisement was incorrect (misprint) and that they actually need to sign up to the Smart3 plan at $81.75 per month to get the free phone."

The relevant provisions were Basic Principle 4 and Rule 2 of the Code of Ethics.

Legal Counsel for the Advertiser, Vodafone New Zealand Limited, said: "D. Handley was correctly advised by our Browns Bay front line staff. Our Best Buys advertisement was in error when it stated that all 3 devices were available on the Smart2 plan. In fact, and as all our other collateral attests, the Galaxy Mini device shown in the Best Buys advertisement (RRP $399) was available on our Smart2 plan, the Galaxy Ace (RRP $599) on our Smart3 plan, and the Galaxy S (RRP $799) only on our Smart4 Plan. As soon as we became aware of our mistake in our advertisement - which did not, unfortunately, happen until after the catalogue had dropped - we issued comms to all channels, posted corrections on both our and Best Buys' websites, and set up counter stands correcting the error in our retail stores. stores. We regret the inconvenience our advertisement caused D. Handley. As an index of our sincerity, we have applied an ex gratia credit to their account with us. In deference to your request, however, we have made no direct contact other than to advise by txt that the credit has been made."

The Chairman noted the response from the Advertiser that the advertisement was in error and that once they became aware of the mistake they issued communications to all channels to correct the error, and an ex gratia credit had been applied to the Complainant's account. Accordingly, the Chairman was of the view that the matter had been settled in a self-regulatory manner and it would serve no further purpose to place it before the Complaints Board.

Accordingly, the Chairman ruled that the complaint was settled.

Chairman's Ruling: Complaint Settled