The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs is suing three of the top US mobile carriers, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Nextel for “misleading” consumers through clever deceptive advertising. Where do I sign up? It’s about time these guys met their maker.
The suit details several advertising tactics that have promised features such as “All incoming calls being free,” and “Nationwide long distance included. Every Minute, Every day.” When in fact you need to read the miniscule footnote that indicates extra charges which are the complete opposite of free.
Sprint has stated that they believe that they comply with advertising regulations, and Nextel stated that they plan to fight the suit because they believe the ads are truthful. Ok guys, seriously, give it up. Advertising tactics such as these that mislead consumers are quite common these days and I for one am glad someone is standing up and fighting for the little guys.
Check out some of the juicy details of the suit bellow. Or you can head to the DCA’s website for more details.
• Nextel deceived consumers by advertising “ALL INCOMING CALLS ARE FREE” when in fact, a tiny, multi-line footnote at the bottom of the advertisement indicated “…an additional access charge of either $.10 per minute multiplied by the number of participants on the call…or a monthly flat fee,” would be charged to the consumer if he or she signed up for the advertised calling plan.
• Nextel further deceived consumers by advertising “PLANS STARTING AT $10 PER MONTH,” or “POWERFUL PHONES STARTING AT $24.99” without clearly describing different service plans or products, and without adequately disclosing either the highest price of the advertised plan, or an “average price,” as required by law.
• Sprint deceived consumers by advertising “NATIONWIDE LONG DISTANCE INCLUDED. EVERY MINUTE, EVERY DAY” when in fact, a tiny, multi-line footnote at the bottom of the advertisement indicated a charge for long distance—including the phrase “…an additional $0.25 per minute for long distance.”
• Sprint further deceived consumers by advertising that “instant savings require in-store purchase and activation of a new line…” when a tiny footnote at the bottom of the advertisement stated “Requires in-store purchase and activation of two new lines of service on eligible plans.” **In the same ad, Sprint deceived consumers by advertising a “FREE” cell phone offer forcing consumers to look at the fine print footnote to find that in fact, the offer required “…a two-year Sprint PCS Advantage Agreement.”
• T-Mobile deceived consumers by advertising “FREE LONG DISTANCE” and “FREE ROAMING” when in fact, a tiny, multi-line footnote at the bottom of the advertisement indicated “Billing of roaming charges and minutes of use and services may be delayed” and “Call duration may be limited.”