The National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau (NAD) recently recommended that Sprint discontinue or modify certain claims about its “Unlimited My Way” wireless plan. In the campaign, Sprint touted its unlimited talk, text and data plan. T-Mobile challenged several claims in the campaign, including a statement that the plan was “guaranteed unlimited for life.” The NAD recommended that Sprint modify or discontinue this claim after concluding that a reasonable consumer could understand it to mean that the price of the plan, advertised at $80, was guaranteed for life. Additionally, the NAD noted that Sprint failed to disclose that it reserved the right to limit download speeds. As such, the NAD recommended that Sprint conspicuously disclose that a) the unlimited guarantee referred to the service, not the price of the plan, and b) Sprint reserved the right to limit download speeds. T-Mobile also challenged several comparative savings claims. The NAD also concluded that Sprint must disclose material differences between the Sprint and T-Mobile plans that were being compared. These material differences included device and contract requirements, as well as the identity of the device used for the basis of the price comparison. Finally, the NAD concluded that Sprint’s claim “A Better Plan. A Better Promise” should clearly and conspicuously disclose the basis for the comparison, namely pricing, unlimited talk, text and data and its lifetime guarantee.
TIP: This case is a good reminder that advertisers are responsible for substantiating any reasonable interpretation of claims contained in advertising, regardless of the intended meaning of the claim. When making comparative claims, advertisers should ensure those claims are narrowly drawn and should clearly and conspicuously disclose the basis for any such claims, including any material differences between the products or services being compared.