The advertisement which was for a SIM card plans for people travelling to the USA stated the following:
“USA SIM CARD
- Pre-paid service – no bill shock
- Cheap international talk and text to stay in touch with your family and friends
- International roaming with coverage in over 190 countries, allowing you to stay connected even outside the US
- Recharge online, using the JT Travel App, via phone or 24/7 Customer Service
UNLIMITED DATA + Unlimited nationwide talk & text in the USA
International Talk from US$0.19/min
All-in-one SIM: works with all devices
UNLIMITED+ PLAN US$69
- Unlimited nationwide talk and text
- Unlimited data with 2GB at LTE speeds
- US$10 international credit
Expiry: 30 days"
The complainant said the US SIM card was advertised as unlimited data, however, data was restricted after 2GB due to excessive usage in line with a Fair Go policy. The complainant said that the promotional material did not state that the usage was subject to Fair Go policy, or that certain phone features, such as personal hotspot, were unavailable.
The advertisers said they had been offering the USA SIM Card for many years to their J1 students and that this was the first complaint received. They said they forwarded the ASAI correspondence to their SIM Card supplier eKit who said that the use of the word unlimited was permitted when there was a fair usage policy (FUP) in place as long as the existence of such policy was called out, and confirmed they complied with this policy as their Fair Go policy was declared on the website at the point of purchase/recharge. They provided the weblink to the page in question.
In relation to the Executive’s request that the advertisers provide the percentage of customers on the plan who have exceeded the FUP on a per month basis over the last 6 months period, the advertisers said that all of their students finished their J1 program in August / September 2018 and that they did not have the visibility of a monthly breakdown for the last 6 months. They did however provide on a confidential basis overall figures showing the total number of their customers who had purchased the product and the number who had exceeded the FUP.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response.
The Complaints Committee noted that the marketing communication was on the advertisers’ website and while there was a link provided to the ‘Fair Go’ policy at the point of purchase/recharge, it was not contained within the marketing communication and not immediately apparent to consumers.
They also noted that the overall number of consumers who had exceeded the FUP (which had been provided on a confidential basis to the ASAI) was very significant.
In the circumstances, the Committee considered the use of ‘Unlimited’ was misleading and that the advertisement was in breach of Sections 4.1, 4.4 and 4.9 of the Code.
The advertisement should not appear in the current form.