A radio advertisement for Carphone Warehouse promoted an iPhone offer and stated:
“What about a new iPhone? How about a FREE iPhone? At Carphone Warehouse, the iPhone 6s is free – that’s a super-powered, 32G, large screen iPhone 6s free – a huge saving of €79. That’s a Carphone Warehouse exclusive. Make the iPhone 6s your choice, you won’t find a better deal at the network stores – we’ve checked! Hurry, offer while stocks last – any network, any phone, any plan – only Carphone Warehouse. Ts & Cs apply.”
The complainant felt the advertisement was unclear that the offer did not apply to existing Three customers and was therefore misleading.
The advertisers said that the handset was free to customers taking up a 24-month Flex Max contract as per the information at the end of the advertisement. They also said the advertisement stated “Terms and conditions apply”. They said that on checking the website at the time of the promotion, customers would have been presented with an ad similar to one they provided to the ASAI, which depicted the iPhone 6s product page and a note after the product description stating:
“SPECIAL OFFER: FREE on Three’s Mini Flex Max plan. Save €99. Upgrades excluded. Terms and Conditions apply.”
The advertisers said they considered this made it clear the promotion was available on the Three Mini Flex Max plan and was not available to customers upgrading. They said the same information would have been provided to customers enquiring in-store.
The advertisers further advised that two versions of the advertisement had aired; one version included the enhanced legal line “T’s & C’s apply. Offer subject to a 24-month flex max contract” and the other version, which was the subject of this complaint, did not.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. They noted that while the radio advertisement stated “Ts & Cs apply” it had not indicated that the offer was subject to a 24-month contract nor that it was only available to new customers. The Committee considered that these were major conditions that should have been included in the advertisement.
In the circumstances they considered the advertisement was in breach of sections 4.1 and 4.4 of the Code.
The advertisement must not reappear in its current form.