NEW YORK, August 18, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — BBB National Programs’ National Advertising Division (NAD) found that T-Mobile US, Inc. provided reasonable basis for claiming that its T‑Mobile Home Internet (T-HINT) “was for many households” is available in most US cities and towns” and the implied claim that T-HINT is available nationwide.
However, NAD recommended T-Mobile claiming that T-HINT allows consumers to “save up to 50% off the FCC national broadband rate benchmark” and the implicit claim that a consumer can save up to 50% on their Internet at home going to save from phasing out services to big competitors like Verizon.
T-HINT is a new broadband alternative to cable home internet. The disputed claims were made by Verizon Communications, Inc.
right to availability
The offending television advertisement featured the claim “Introducing T-Mobile home internet” with a disclosure at the bottom of the screen in the same frame that read: “Available to many homes in most US cities and towns. Details at T-Mobile .com/WLAN.”
NAD concluded that the T-HINT service is now more likely than not available to US consumers nationally. Accordingly, NAD determined that the advertiser had reasonable basis for claiming that T-HINT “is available to many households in most US cities and towns” and the implied claim that T-HINT is available nationwide.
Claim “Save up to 50%”.
The offending television advertisement shows a computer screen with the words “Save Up to 50% vs. National FCC Broadband Rate Benchmark” written on it. “Save up to 50%” is written in bold type and the comparison to the FCC Broadband Rate Benchmark appears in smaller type below. In the same frame, a reveal appeared at the bottom of the screen. It read: “$105/Mon (FCC Urban Broadband Rate Survey Reasonable Comparability Benchmark) vs. $50/Mon (T-Mobile 5G Home Internet). Speeds and features vary.”
NAD noted that the basis of comparison for T-Mobile’s “save up to 50%” claim (i.e., the FCC national broadband rate benchmark) is not clear because the claim is displayed on screen for two seconds and the term ” Benchmark” is open to interpretation in this context. NAD noted that a reasonable interpretation of the term “benchmark” is that the benchmark rate is an average rate paid by Americans for home internet services. However, the Urban Rate Survey does not represent the actual price consumers pay, but is a benchmark rate set by the FCC to ensure fair pricing for rural areas. NAD pointed out that while the Urban Rate Survey can reliably collect data on Internet service rates for public policy information purposes, the benchmark rate derived from this survey is not well suited to the contested savings claim.
NAD also noted that the “Up to 50%” savings claim is not supported because few consumers pay for it $105 a month that T-Mobile uses as a basis for comparison from the FCC’s benchmark tariffs.
In addition, NAD determined that the FCC rate benchmark comparison is not a good fit for claiming savings because NAD was not satisfied that the service level chosen by T-Mobile as a basis for comparison was appropriate.
For these reasons, NAD recommended that T-Mobile drop the “save up to 50%” claim and the implied claim that a consumer saves up to 50% on their home Internet services compared to major competitors like Verizon.
In its advertising statement, T-Mobile stated that it “agrees to comply with NAD’s recommendations.” Although the advertiser disagreed with certain of NAD’s statements regarding the FCC broadband rate benchmark, it stated that “we continue to support the self-regulatory process and will consider NAD’s recommendations in future advertising efforts.”
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About the national BBB programs: BBB National Programs is where businesses turn to to build consumer confidence and empower consumers. The non-profit organization creates a level playing field for businesses and a better experience for consumers by developing and delivering effective third-party accountability and dispute resolution programs. Assuming its role as an independent organization since the reorganization of the Council of Better Business Bureaus in June 2019, BBB National Programs today oversees more than a dozen of the industry’s leading national self-regulatory programs and continues to develop its work and increase its impact by providing corporate guidance and promoting best practices in areas such as advertising, child-friendly marketing and privacy. To learn more, visit bbbprograms.org.
About the National Advertising Division: BBB National Programs’ National Advertising Division (NAD) provides independent self-regulatory and dispute resolution services that guide the truthfulness of advertising in the United States. NAD reviews national advertising in all media and its decisions set consistent standards for truth and accuracy of advertising and provide meaningful consumer protection and a level playing field for businesses.
SOURCE BBB National Programs