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Medium: Direct Email
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 4.1, 4.4, 5.5, 5.15(a), 5.15(b), 5.15(c), 5.15(d), 5.15(e), 5.15(f), 5.15(g), 5.15(h), 5.15(i)
Two direct emails sent to the complainant after purchasing an Apple device stated:
Subject Line of email: “Start your free year of Apple TV+”
The body of the email included the following:
“Your new Apple device includes a free year of Apple TV+
The new device you or a family member purchased comes with access to Apple TV+ and exclusive Apple originals – free for one year.*”
“For more details, visit apple.co/offer or our support page.
Start your free trial.”
Information contained in the footnote relevant to the offer stated:
“*£4.99/month after free trial. One subscription per Family Sharing group. Offer good for 3 months after eligible device activation. Plan automatically renews after trial until cancelled. Restrictions and other terms apply.”
The complainant objected to an offer of free Apple TV+ they received after their purchase of an Apple device. The complainant tried to avail of the offer but noted that they had been invoiced for the Apple TV+ service and on enquiring was advised that as they had already availed of the offer on the purchase of an Apple device in 2020, they could not avail of the offer again. As the offer emails had been sent to the complainant and did not state that the offer could only be availed of once, irrespective of how many devices were purchased, the complainant considered that the direct emails were misleading.
The ASAI Executive noted that the email advertising was sent to an email address that was different to that used to sign up to the offer in 2019.
The advertisers stated that if the complainant had activated an offer prior to November 2020, then they should not have received either of the two emails. They requested the complainant’s Apple ID in order to investigate the matter which was provided to them with the agreement of the complainant.
The advertisers said that based on the Apple ID provided, an offer email was sent to the complainant, in November 2019 and that the complainant redeemed the offer and became a TV+ subscriber. They said that the emails the customer received after their purchase of their new device would most likely have been sent to a different Apple ID and this was the reason they believed that the complainant was sent the offer email a second time, as their system did not recognise the Apple ID as having already taken advantage of the offer. In the circumstances, they believed that multiple Apple ID’s were the reason the complainant received the offer after the purchase of their second device. They said the offer terms and conditions on their website had stated that the offer was only available once:
“Only one offer per Family, regardless of the number of devices purchased.”.
They said that once the complainant had availed of the first offer, they were not entitled to continuously avail of the offer with each additional purchase. Finally, they said that they were very appreciative of the complainant’s support and apologised if the matter had caused them any inconvenience.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response.
The Committee noted that the terms of the offer had stated that the offer was only available once, irrespective of how many devices were purchased. They also noted, however, that the term had not been provided on the offer emails nor had it been on the apple.co/offer webpage linked to from the offer emails. The Committee considered that the term was a significant term that should have been included in the offer to alert customers in advance of them starting the sign-up process. In the circumstances the Committee considered that the offer emails were in breach of Sections 5.5, 5.15 (a), 5.15 (h) and 5.16 of the Code.
The advertising should not reappear in its current form.