ASA Adjudication on Lycamobile UK Ltd
Lycamobile UK Ltd t/a
195 Marsh Wall
26 October 2011
Computers and telecommunications
Number of complaints:
A TV ad, for an international telephone service, viewed on B4U Music in July 2011, included a voice-over which stated, “With GT Mobile, you can now call India, Pakistan and Bangladesh landlines for only 1p a minute.” On-screen text stated “Call India + Mobile, Pakistan, Bangladesh". Further text stated “1p/min". Text beneath that stated "[subject to a 15p call set up fee]”. Text at the foot of the screen stated “T&C at www.gtmobile.co.uk”.
The complainant challenged whether the ad was misleading, because it did not make clear that after 15 minutes the charge increased to three pence per minute.
GT Mobile said that the details of the offer were presented in a clear, large typeface on a clear white background. They believed that the ad did not omit material information. They pointed out that on-screen text stated "T&C at www.gtmobile.co.uk" and was displayed throughout the majority of the ad. They said that the terms and conditions online made clear that calls would increase from one pence per minute to three pence per minute after 15 minutes. They also said that a significant number of consumers' calls did not exceed 15 minutes in duration and believed that this indicated that consumers were aware of the increase in charges after 15 minutes.
B4U believed that the ad made clear the conditions of the offer. They said that on-screen text stated "T&C at www.gtmobile.co.uk" and directed consumers to the detailed terms and conditions of the offer on their website, which made clear that calls were charged at one pence per minute for up to 15 minutes and three pence per minute thereafter.
The ASA considered that consumers were likely to interpret the claim “With GT Mobile, you can now call India, Pakistan and Bangladesh landlines for only 1p a minute”, and the on screen text “1p/min”, to mean that calls to those destinations were charged at one pence per minute for the duration of the call. However, we understood that that rate applied only to the first 15 minutes of the call and that thereafter calls were charged at a rate of three pence per minute.
Whilst we acknowledged that on-screen text stated "T&C at www.gtmobile.co.uk" and that the terms and conditions, available online, made clear that after 15 minutes calls were charged at three pence per minute, we were concerned that that condition had not been made clear in the ad. Since we considered that to be a significant qualification which should have been made clear in the ad, we concluded that the ad was in breach of the Code.
The ad breached BCAP Code rules 3.1 and 3.2 (Misleading advertising) and 3.10 (Qualification).
The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form. We told GT Mobile to ensure that they made clear all significant qualifications in future.