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MTN misled customers with R449 per month Samsung Galaxy S21 deal

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The Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) has found that MTN misled customers with a promotion it held for the Samsung Galaxy S21 and Galaxy A22 5G.

The complainant, Ethel Zulu, brought the issue to the attention of the ARB, where the advertisement showed that a customer could get the Galaxy S21 for R449 per month over 36 months.

According to the ad, subscribers could add a Galaxy A22 5G for an additional R29 per month.

However, a sales consultant told Zulu the contract would be R728 per month — R250 more than advertised.

The ARB offered MTN an opportunity to respond to the complaint. MTN did not provide feedback except to acknowledge the request and thank the self-regulatory association for its work.

The ARB looked through MTN’s terms and conditions to find a possible explanation. It said that the operator’s presentation of its product- and promotion-specific terms are incredibly confusing.

“It is noted that even if the explanation is there [in the T&Cs], this is simply fixing a misleading impression already created by the advertisement,” the ARB stated.

“The advertisement itself still creates the impression that the deal is available as stated.”

It ruled that MTN’s advertisement was misleading.

“The Directorate is of the opinion that the way the advertisement is formatted will lead the hypothetical reasonable person to believe that the offer is all inclusive and that there are no further charges to be applied,” it said.

“There is no explanation before the Directorate as to what occurred with the complainant, nor is there evidence to show that a consumer may be able to purchase both mobile telephone handsets and a service contract… for the advertised prices,” the ARB found.

The ARB ruled that the advertisement contravenes its Code of Advertising Practice.

MTN must withdraw or amend its advertising for the offer to include all costs and charges.

MyBroadband asked MTN for comment on the matter, but it had not answered our questions by the time of publication.


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