ASA Adjudication on Truphone Ltd
4 Royal Mint Court
22 August 2012
Internet (on own site)
Computers and telecommunications
Number of complaints:
A website for a global mobile network, www.truphone.com, stated "The Tru SIM saves you money, wherever you are in the world, without changing the way you use your phone". Further text described the product as "The truly global SIM".
The complainant, who understood that the service was not available in some parts of the world, challenged whether the claims "truly global" and "wherever you are in the world" were misleading.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
Truphone said, because their service worked in 223 countries, they provided a "truly global" service and that, in the context of a mobile phone service, the average consumer would consider these countries to cover the phrase "wherever you are in the world". They said there were 19 locations where only their emergency call back method was available but that these locations were mainly remote with little or no inhabitancy. They believed the average consumer was unlikely to have heard of most of these locations and would be unlikely to require a mobile phone to use there. They said, because there was a perceived difficulty in obtaining a service at these locations, consumers who required a full service would conduct research into availability. They said their website had a rate-checker which allowed consumers to check service availability and charges when making calls from and to any location and, in the instances where their full service was not available, the rate-checker showed that outgoing calls were not available.
They said, according to an online population calculator, there was an estimated world population of over seven billion. They submitted a spread sheet showing the locations where their service was not available and said the total estimated population of all those locations was 1.24% of the estimated current global population. They believed, because their service was available to 98.76% of the global population the claims "truly global" and "wherever you are in the world" were not misleading.
The 19 locations where the full service was not available included Somalia, North Korea, Burma and Eritrea and several island countries and island territories. The ad stated "The Tru SIM saves you money, wherever you are in the world, without changing the way you use your phone" and "The truly global SIM". We considered that, in the context of an ad for a global mobile network, consumers would understand this to mean that there were no limitations to the Tru SIM in terms of location, and that users could use it in any location in the world without having to change the way they used their phone. Because there were limitations to the service in some locations, we concluded that the claims "truly global" and "wherever you are in the world" were misleading.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 and 3.3 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation) and 3.9 (Qualification).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Truphone not to claim that their service was "truly global" or available "wherever you are in the world", unless there were no limitations to the full service in terms of location.