ASA Adjudication on Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications International AB
Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications International AB
202 Hammersmith Road
12 October 2011
Internet (on own site)
Computers and telecommunications
Number of complaints:
An individual product listing, on Sony Ericsson's website on 30 March 2011, for the XperiaTM X8 smartphone featured text under the heading "Specifications" stating "Performance ... Standby time (up to) 446 hours ...". Text underneath stated "Battery performance may vary depending on network conditions and configuration, and phone usage".
The complainant challenged whether the claim "Standby time (up to) 446 hours" was misleading and could be substantiated, because he believed that the standby time for the smartphone was substantially less than that figure.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
Sony Ericsson pointed out that the claim "Standby time (up to) 446 hours" was immediately qualified by text stating "Battery performance may vary depending on network conditions and configuration, and phone usage". They explained that a standby time specification was an industry standard and its only intention was to allow a comparison of different mobile phones under the same circumstances. They said that factors affecting standby power consumption included network, settings, location, movement, signal strength and cell traffic which was why standby time specifications of different mobile phones could only be compared in a controlled laboratory environment, and that when any mobile phone was used in real life, the actual standby time could be considerably lower depending on those factors. They also pointed out that if a consumer was using data functionality heavily, such as WLAN, push e-mail, applications and internet usage, that would drain the battery much faster. They said that was why the statement regarding battery standby time was an indicative figure only and they believed the qualifying text made that clear.
The ASA acknowledged that there were factors affecting battery life, such as network, settings, location and usage and considered that the ad made that clear with the qualifying text "Battery performance may vary depending on network conditions and configuration, and phone usage". We noted Sony Ericsson's explanation that the standby time specification had been measured in a controlled laboratory environment and we were provided with test data which showed that the phone could achieve a standby time of 446 hours in those conditions. However, without qualification explaining that the maximum level was theoretical, we considered that consumers would infer from the ad that the battery was capable of lasting this long during normal consumer use, subject to the other factors stated in the ad, whereas we understood that the battery life during normal use could be considerably lower. We therefore concluded that Sony Ericsson had not substantiated the claim "Standby time (up to) 446 hours" and that it was misleading.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 and 3.3 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation), 3.9 (Qualification) and 3.11 (Exaggeration).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Sony Ericsson not to repeat the claim that the XperiaTM X8 smartphone has a standby time of up to 446 hours without suitable qualification.