Login Or Subscribe?
Home Rulings MTN / PAY PER SECOND OFFER / M BRITTAN / 2018-7519F

MTN / PAY PER SECOND OFFER / M BRITTAN / 2018-7519F

Mr Brittan lodged a consumer complaint against the Respondent’s advertising for its "Pay Per Second” deal, which was promoted on its website. 

The advertisement states:

"MTN PayAsYouGo
Choose the price plan best suited for your needs

MTN Pay Per Second

This plan is ideal for control of your spend with a fixed rate

Benefits

What you can expect: 

  • Pay the same flat rate of 79c per minute at any time to any local network”

COMPLAINT

In essence, the Complainant submitted that it is not possible to sign up for "MTN Pay Per Second” on MTN Prepaid. 

It was also pointed out that the Respondent’s cheapest call rate at the time of complaint was R1,20 per minute. The Complainant’s requests to have the advertising removed were ignored.

RELEVANT CLAUSE OF THE CODE OF ADVERTISING PRACTICE

In light of the complaint the following clauses of the Code were taken into account:
  • Section II, Clause 4.2.1 - Misleading claims
  • Section II, Clause 19 - Pricing policy

RESPONSE

The Respondent submitted that the Complainant is correct that the cost of 79c per minute no longer applies. As is normal in any competitive business environment, MTN has recently had to update some of its pricing points, and this product was included in the process.

The Respondent emphasised that the price was not increased to R1,20 per minute as suggested by the Complainant. The increase of 20c meant that the new Pay Per Second call rate would be 99c per minute, as is communicated by SMS and on MTN’s website. The relevant pages where information of this offer appears were updated to provide accurate pricing information. The first page to which the Complainant objected to has been amended. A screenshot of this page was included in the response indicating where the correct price of 99c appears. Similarly, the second page included in the response, has also been amended. A screenshot of the page was provided to the Directorate.

The Respondent further submitted that the complaint appears to have been received by the ASA on 22 March 2018, the day before the new pricing came into effect. While it is not entirely clear what prompted the Complainant to lodge an objection the day before the new pricing went live, the submissions presented should satisfy the Directorate that the current advertising is accurate, and correctly communicates the price of 99c per minute to consumers. 

It further pointed out that the Complainant was incorrect in his assertion that it was not possible to sign up for "MTN Pay Per Second” on MTN Prepaid.

ASA DIRECTORATE RULING

The ASA Directorate considered the relevant documentation submitted by the respective parties.

Clause 4.2.1 of Section II of the Code states, inter alia, that advertising should not contain any statement or visual presentation, which, directly or by implication, omission, ambiguity, inaccuracy, exaggerated claim or otherwise, is likely to mislead the consumer.

The Complainant submitted that the Respondent call rate is currently at R1,20 per minute as opposed to the advertised call rate of 79c per minute. The Respondent on the other hand submitted that the Complainant is correct that the cost of 79c per minute no longer applies. However, it argued that a message to this effect was distributed to existing Pay Per Second customers informing them of a small increase to R0,99 per minute. It refuted the contention that the call rate is currently at R1,20 per minute. 

The Respondent submitted that the relevant pages where the details of this offer were updated to provide accurate pricing information. The pages in which the Complainant objected to have been amended to indicate the correct price of 99c. 
From the material at hand, it appears that the 79c per minute offer was valid until 23 March 2018. There is nothing before the Directorate to show that any customer was charged R1,20 per minute or that the 79c offer was ever unavailable.

 In addition, the advertising has now been updated to reflect the 99c pricing.

The Complainant also submitted that it is impossible to sign up for the "MTN Pay Per Second” on MTN Prepaid. The Respondent submitted that this was incorrect but undertook to revert with more information, which it never did.

The Directorate therefore turned to the Respondent’s terms and conditions, which state:

The MTN Pay Per Second Price Plan is available to the following customers: 
3.1.1. Existing MTN PayAsYouGo customers; on the Per Second Price plan (the "Customers”). 
3.2. The MTN Pay Per Second Price Plan is not available to MTN Contract or My MTNChoice customers. 

It also states:
5.1. New MTN PayAsYouGo customers shall default on the MTN Pay Per Second Price Plan. 
5.2. Customers may also join the MTN Pay Per Second Price Plan by migrating into the price plan. Customers may migrate by dialing the USSD *136*4*4#. 

It would also appear, from navigating the Respondent’s website, that "Prepaid” and "PayAsYouGo” are the same thing.

It therefore appears that the Pay Per Second plan is not only available to Prepaid customers, but is the default plan.

Accordingly, the advertising does not appear be misleading in the manner suggested by the Complainant, and therefore does not contravene Clause 4.2.1 of Section II and Clause 19 of Section II of the Code.

The complaint is dismissed.


Previous Ruling Next Ruling

FNB / CELLPHONE / JACQUES VERMAAK / 2018 - 7707F

The complainant felt that the advertisement was misleading.

More info
© 2018 ASA. All rights reservedDeveloped and Maintained by JHNet Web Development