Feeds

Carphone Warehouse whipped for cheap Jesus mobe ads

ASA: The important stuff was in the fine print

High performance access to file storage

Carphone Warehouse has been smacked down by the Advertising Standards Authority for claiming that it had the lowest price in the country on the iPhone 4.

One complaint was made about the ads, which were headlined: "iPhone 4. UK's lowest price". The complainant said the headline was misleading because she'd found lower prices for the phone elsewhere.

It turns out the phone shop meant it had the lowest price when compared to the published prices of other authorised Apple retailers and networks checked on a specific date if they offered the exact same tariff and were therefore comparable on Pay As You Go – admittedly, not quite as snappy a tagline. Oh, and if you found an unpublished better price elsewhere, they'd match it, so that took care of that.

The ASA disagreed though, saying that, in the first place, there weren't all that many comparable prices, particularly at the cheaper end of the scale:

The Carphone Warehouse (TCW) handset prices were sometimes more expensive and that some competitors offered pay monthly tariffs, particularly at the lower end of the price spectrum, which did not appear to be available for handsets purchased via TCW and therefore did not allow for a “lowest price” comparison on those tariffs.

Where prices could be compared, they were sometimes cheaper, but often they were the same price or higher, the ASA said, adding that Joe Public was likely to view the claim of "lowest price" to mean less than competitors, not the same as.

The authority also pointed out that the retailer had only looked at Jesus mobe 16GB, ignoring the 32GB version, while the ad mentioned iPhones in general.

Another complainant talking about the same ad said the fact that the advert had the price £13.99 on it in the small print could make you think that's what price the iPhone was per month, even though it said "Service plan instore" beside it.

TCW said it was clear that a 'service plan' was an insurance add-on and not a synonym for tariff, price plan or line rental. But the ASA said that as it was the only price on the advert and because the ad referred to a "specified tariff" without specifying it, you could mistakenly think that a shiny new fruity mobile could be yours for £13.99 a month.

The ads can't appear again and the ASA told Carphone Warehouse to make sure it held "adequate substantiation" for its future price claims. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet
Maria Miller finally resigns over expenses row
Skype pimps pro-level broadcast service
Playing Cat and Mouse with the media
Beat it, freetards! Dyn to shut down no-cost dynamic DNS next month
... but don't worry, charter members, you're still in 'for life'
Like Google, Comcast might roll its own mobile voice network
Says anything's possible if regulators approve merger with Time Warner
EE dismisses DATA-BURNING glitch with Orange Mail app
Bug quietly slurps PAYG credit - yet EE denies it exists
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
Facebook splats in-app chat, whacks brats into crack yakety-yak app
Jibber-jabbering addicts turfed out just as Zuck warned
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.