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OFT rattles sabre over 'free flights' web offer

Fones4Free must withdraw 'misleading' promotion

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A UK website flogging mobile phones is facing legal action from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) for failing to pull a misleading "free flights" promotion.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which has requested the intervention of the OFT, claims Fones4Free.com's "free flights" promo requires punters to pay taxes and other charges. Because of these charges, the ad watchdog claims the offer is misleading.

While the "free flights" promo - which has been running for the last four months - has been removed from poster and banner ads, the ASA claims it is still available via the Fones4Free.com website. The ASA has called in the OFT because it has failed to win any assurances from Fones4Free.com that the deal will be pulled.

Said Christopher Graham, head of the ASA: "Despite repeated attempts to contact the advertiser and remedy the situation, Fones4Free.com have failed to co-operate with the ASA. Consumers could be misled by this type of 'free' promotion which omits compulsory taxes and charges.

"By referring to its legal backstop power of the OFT the ASA has underlined its commitment to maintaining the highest standards in advertising regulation and making sure advertisers comply with the Codes."

The OFT has agreed to consider taking action against Fones4Free.com. No one at Fones4Free.com was available for comment at the time of writing. ®

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