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Vodafone ad banned by UK advertising watchdog for 'misleading' consumers

The UK advertising watchdog has banned an advert issued by Voxi, a subsidiary of Vodafone, for "misleading" customers over data and pricing.

The advert, seen on 30 April 2021, advertised a 12GB data plan for £10 per month. Alongside the heading '12GB', the wording '8GB' was crossed out with text stating that the deal included 'extra data'. Other wording read: 'Hurry! Offers end May 27'.

After launching an investigation on the back of a complaint lodged by rival mobile network Giffgaff, the Advertising Standards Authority ruled the advert was "misleading". The regulator said the advert had not made it clear that the offer of 12GB for £10 was in fact an introductory offer for a limited period of time only. 

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What the ruling said

The Advertising Standards Authority said it that in its view people would take the crossed out '8GB' to mean that 8GB was the established, usual data allowance customers would receive for £10 per month and that the 12GB wording represented an advantage for no extra cost on a permanent basis. It said there was also no indication the offer was only introductory and that the amount of data would reduce from 12GB to 8GB after a period of time.

The Advertising Standards Authority said: "We considered consumers were therefore unlikely to realise that."

The watchdog ruled that the ad must not appear again in the same manner and that Vodafone and Voxi should ensure that introductory offers are clearly marked.

The regulator added that Vodafone had breached CAP Code rules 3.1 on misleading advertising and 3.17 on prices. You can read the ASA's full ruling online.

What did Vodafone say about it?

A spokesperson for Vodafone said: "We were keen to show that our new Voxi plans were better value with more data on offer for our customers. We respect the decision and will ensure it is reflected in our ads and marketing of promotional offers”.

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