The President of UOKiK initiated proceedings against T-Mobile Polska concerning practices violating collective consumer interests. The slogan “1200 GB free of charge for one year” used to advertise the provider’s special Internet offer may be misleading. The benefits promised by the company differ from actual ones and are subject to charges and consumers may not be properly informed on the details. In fact, 100 GB Internet packages are granted on a monthly basis, for a maximum period of 12 months, provided that the consumer renews this offer on a regular basis, paying at least PLN 35 each time.
The offer pertains to prepaid T-Mobile cards and is in force since Fabruary 7th. Campaign broadcast channels include television advertising, Internet advertising (websites, social media), outdoor advertising (billboards, posters, citylights in urban space) and sales points. The Company also conducted campaigns in Żabka stores. A big advertising slogan, in Polish or Ukrainian, on a pink background is a visual form of presentation of the offer. Information about its detailed conditions is almost invisible, written in a several times smaller font, at the bottom of advertising materials. An analysis of advertising materials in the urban space has shown that they are illegible and even the most observant consumer would not able to learn about the details of the offer.
After reading the advertisement, the consumer should have a general, but true, idea of the presented offer. Meanwhile, T-Mobile’s promotional slogan may suggest receiving a one-off package of 1200 GB of data, not several smaller packages, subject to regular payments. If consumers had immediately had full information on the offer and knew that they had to spend at least PLN 420 during the year in order to receive 100 GB of Internet data allowance every month, they could decide not to take advantage of the offer – says Tomasz Chróstny, President of UOKiK.
Outdoor advertising also includes a QR code linking to the offer website, which, however, cannot be considered sufficient to familiarise consumers with its essential principles.
The terms and conditions and methods of presentation of T-Mobile’s offer have not changed significantly since its beginning, despite a soft statement sent to the company by the President of UOKiK indicating that communication of the offer may mislead and violate collective interests of consumers. Now, T-Mobile Polska is facing allegations. If confirmed, the company may be fined up to 10% of revenue.