An eir sponsored social media post advertising an eir broadband bundle stated:
“New eir customers can now get superfast fibre broadband and powerful 4G mobile for just €40 a month for a whole year!”
An image of a tablet and a smartphone were featured together with the text:
“Ireland’s No1 Broadband plus FREE tablet
Powerful 4G Mobile plus FREE smartphone
€40 a month for a whole year”
The complainant considered that the advertising was misleading as he was unaware that the advertised bundle had a contract length of two years. He considered that the impression created by the advertising was that the bundle had a contract length of 1 year. The complainant also stated that, following the link in the advertisement, he had been unable to identify the bundle until contacting the advertiser who advised him that the contract length was for 2 years. He therefore considered the advertising misleading.
The advertisers stated that the bundle offered was a triple-play bundle with broadband, landline and mobile. They said that they ran advertising on all media (TV, radio, outdoor, press and digital) offering consumers what they considered was amazing value of €40 a month for the first 12 months, rising to €96 a month for the remainder of the 24 month contract. They said that at no point did they say that the contract was a 12 month contract. They said that all terms and conditions for the offer clearly stated that it was a 24 month contract and that the complainant had been clearly advised same by their webchat agents.
The advertisers advised that their radio advertising had included a notification that the contact was a 24 month contract, rising to €96 a month after 12 months.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. The Committee considered that the reference to a price with the text “a month for a whole year” implied that the contract was for 1 year and that there had been no indication on the social media post that the cost advertised was for the first 12 months of a longer contractual period. They considered that the headline should have explicitly indicated to consumers that the contact was longer than 12 months. The Committee also considered that the headline claim should have been asterisked to a footnote stating what the cost for the remainder of the contract was, and the length of the contract. In the circumstances the Committee considered the social media post was in breach of Sections 4.1, 4.4 and 5.5 of the Code.
The advertisement must not reappear in its current form and the advertisers were requested to ensure that in future similar advertisements, consumers must be notified of the contract length and the price of a plan after its promotional period ends.