The advertising referred to the following:
“Experience Ireland's fastest broadband and home phone with an eir Base bundle.
Superfast broadband and anytime UK calls.
Unlimited fibre broadband. Up to 100 Mb. Free parental controls. Unlimited anytime home phone calls to UK landlines and mobiles. €25/month get it…”
The complainant said he considered the advertising to be misleading. He said his calls to the UK were not unlimited as when he averaged out his monthly calls he was only allowed to make 55 minutes’ worth of calls to the UK every day.
The advertisers said they were at a loss to know how the complainant had calculated his limit at 55 minutes per day, as having reviewed the matter it appeared to be the case that the limit was 200 minutes per day and 1,000 minutes per month.
The Executive pointed out to the advertisers that while they were unable to comment on how the complainant had worked out his daily calculations that it appeared to them that the cap of 1,000 minutes per month equated to approximately 33 minutes per day. The Executive also pointed out that the 200 minutes a day cap indicated by them appeared to be within the overall cap of 1,000 minutes per month.
In line with normal practice involving an ‘unlimited’ claim where a fair usage policy (FUP) or threshold applied, the Executive asked the advertisers what percentage of customers on the plan had exceeded the FUP per month over the previous six months.
The advertisers considered that this was unrelated to the complaint and they would therefore not be providing this confidential information to the ASAI.
The Complaints Committee considered the details of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. They accepted that the complainant had not explicitly stated how he had calculated his 55 minutes per day allowance. However, there was an onus on the advertisers to be able to substantiate the claims made in their advertising, in this case that the use of the claim ‘unlimited’ was in line with previous adjudications of the Complaints Committee. The Committee had found previously that it was not misleading to describe a telecommunications plan as ‘unlimited’ where a Fair Use Policy applied, provided no more than 1% of customers on the plan were affected by the FUP, customers were advised when they were approaching the threshold and where it was clear in the marketing communication that such a Policy existed.
The Committee were disappointed that the information had not been provided and noted that the advertisers had provided similar information in Case 15363.
In the circumstances, the Committee considered the advertising to be in breach of Sections 2.22 and 2.24 of the Code.
The advertising should not be used in the same format again unless relevant substantiation is provided.