An eir Mobile webpage advertised SIM only plans that were available to existing eir customers. Details of what each mobile plan provided was given together with the following text:
“Are you an existing eir Broadband or Phone customer?
eir Mobile SIM only plans for existing customers
All plans subject to a 30 day rolling contract.”
The complainant viewed the offer and as an existing eir broadband customer he signed up to a SIM only mobile plan. After signing up he noted that his broadband contract had been extended from 12 to 18 months and that the price of his broadband plan had increased by €21 per month. As there had been no reference to the term and price of an existing broadband plan being changed, the complainant considered that the advertising was misleading.
Eir stated that it was correct that a customer must re-contract their broadband when availing of the SIM only offer. They said that at the time of their advertising campaign, their television, radio and print advertising had clearly outlined the re-contracting element in their terms. They provided the Executive with a still from their television advertisement which had included the statement “Recontract broadband for minimum 18 months.” in the onscreen footnote. They also said that their online terms section had also outlined the re-contracting element. They also said, however, that in order to make this condition even more obvious to customers/potential customers, they would be adding the following text to the webpage referred to by the complainant: “Broadband Re-contracting: Customers adding a SIM only plan to their existing broadband plan will be re-contracted for a minimum 12 months more.”
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. The Complaints Committee noted that the advertiser had included a disclaimer in regards to the re-contracting element in most of their advertising and they welcomed the amendment to their website. They considered, however, that the absence on the website of information about the re-contracting and the cost of same had been misleading and in the circumstances the Committee considered that the advertising was in breach of Sections 4.1 and 4.4 of the Code.
The Complaints Committee told eir to clearly indicate to consumers in advertising any terms or conditions that could affect their purchase decision.