The Complaints Board of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) says Vodafone's BestMate promotion was likely to mislead consumers as it didn't state the service was only available to Pre-Pay customers, and not ones on account.
That information was only available if enquirers visited the Vodafone website or rang the mobile operator's 0800 number.
In upholding a complaint filed by M Ritchie of Christchurch, the ASA says Vodafone's November 2, 2006, TV campaign breaches Rule 2 of its Code of Ethics. The rule relates to truthful presentation of advertising, and covers Vodafone's omission the authority says. The Television Commercial Approvals Bureau however didn't not uphold the complaint, as it felt it was sufficient that the details are available through calling an 0800 number or visiting a website.
Vodafone says it apologises for "confusing customers" after the ASA finding on the BestMate advertising, but qualifies the apology by adding that "it didn't involve our customers' money." A statement attributed to brand general manager Craig Herbison says "all that happened was that customers who called in were told they could only subscribe if they were on PrePay."
Herbison apologises for not pointing that out in the ads.