The eir television advertisement opens with fingers clicking. The word ‘eir’ appears above the fingers. Two hands are then shown closed and when they open the text “€30 a month – for a whole year” appears between them. The hands close and re-open and a tablet appears between them with the words “Unlimited Superfast Fibre Broadband”. Two pairs of hands are then shown pulling to reveal an image of a television screen. Wording shown beside the image of the television reads “56 TV Channels” and “€30 a month”. A hand then pulls down a blank screen and a mobile phone is shown with the text “Calls, Texts, 4G Data” and “€30 a month”. The hand flips the phone to the other side of the screen and the wording “FREE 4G Smartphone” appears. The hand appears to then ‘throw’ the following text onto the screen “€30 a month. Unlimited Superfast Fibre Broadband, Unlimited Home Phone Calls, 56 TV Channels, Mobile Calls, Texts and 4G Data”. A green circle appears in the corner with the text “Free 4G Smartphone”. Two hands are again shown pulling an image to reveal the eir telephone number - 1800 500 300.
The voiceover for the advertisement stated:
Switch to Eir now and see what you can get for just €30 a month for a whole year. Get your hands on unlimited superfast fibre broadband with unlimited home phone calls for just €30 a month. Add 56 of Ireland’s favourite tv channels and it’s still €30 a month. Plus 4g mobile with calls, texts and 4g data still only €30 a month. Switch now and get a free 4g smartphone too. That’s unlimited superfast fibre broadband, unlimited home phone calls, 56 tv channels, mobile calls, texts and 4g data and a free 4g smartphone all for just €30 a month for a whole year. Call 1800 500 300, go instore or visit eir.ie
The following text appeared on screen as a footnote:
“24 month contract. €30 a month for first 12 months, €92 a month thereafter.
New customers only. TV services impacts on broadband speeds. Subject to availability. T&C’s apply. See eir.ie.”
Complaint 1: Complainants considered the advertising misleading on the grounds that the advertised price of €30 was an introductory price for 12 months only. They considered that the advertisement had not made it clear that the price would increase to €92 per month after 12 months and that the contract was for 24 months.
Complaint 2: Complainants considered that the price advertised should be the average monthly price over the life of the contact and that only highlighting the introductory price was misleading consumers.
Eir stated that their television advertisement had clearly stated in the terms and conditions that the promotional offer of €30 a month was for the first 12 months and
that the price would increase to €92 a month for the remaining 12 months. They said that the message appeared on screen in the super text at the bottom of the screen.
They confirmed that all their television advertising featured the length of the contract
term and the follow on pricing in the super text at the bottom of the screen. They confirmed that all their television advertising featured the length of the contract term and the follow on pricing in the super text. They said that that they understood that this text size and format was in line with industry standards and broadcast regulations, and therefore, each of their television advertisements were assessed and passed fit for viewing by RTE Copy Clearance and Clearcast. They reiterated that it has never been, nor would it ever be, their intention to purposely mislead or misinform customers or potential customers.
Complaint 1: In regards to the use of promotional pricing, eir stated that they, like all of their competitors, provided introductory pricing offers across a range of their products and bundles. They said that the purpose of this was to offer customers an incentive to move or stay with them by discounting the standard rate of the product or bundle for a certain period of time. They said that this was not an attempt to mislead customers as to the standard price of the product but rather an additional benefit for new or existing customers.
Complaint 2: In regards to average pricing, eir stated that they had found that many of their customers were eager to determine what they would be paying for their products on a monthly basis. In this case, customers would know that their bundle price would be €30 for 12 months and €92 thereafter and as such they could organise their household budgets accordingly. They said that they found that if they were to provide average pricing it could lead to confusion as to how much a customer would actually be charged for their service on a monthly basis.
Upheld in part.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaints and the advertisers’ response.
Complaint 1: They noted that the introductory price of €30 had been referenced four times on screen in the body copy of the advertisement and five times in the voice-over. There was no indication, however, in the main heading or body copy that the monthly cost was an introductory offer.
The Committee also noted that super text in the advertisement had included details of the introductory nature of the offer and that it was valid for only 12 months of a 24 month contract. They considered these to be major conditions that should have been highlighted in the main copy.
In the circumstances they considered that the advertising was in breach of Sections 2.22, 2.23 and 2.24 of the Code.
The complaints were upheld.
Complaint 2: The Committee did not consider that the use of introductory pricing for a portion of a contract term rather than average pricing was in breach of the Code.
The complaints were not upheld.
The advertisement should not be used in the same format again. The Committee reminded all advertisers that care should be taken to ensure that any major conditions attached to an offer are included in the main copy of the advertising.