The Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASA) recently published a ruling in which a consumer is said to have complained about MWEB posters that are placed along Sandton Drive advertising free business ADSL.
These posters feature a three-panel cartoon, the ruling said, which states that you get a month’s free business ADSL when you sign up for selected 12-month contracts, includes free installation, and that terms and conditions apply.
According to the ruling, the essence of the complaint is that while the advertising gives the impression that the first month of Internet access is free, the subscriber was charged for various items including the ADSL line installation, analogue line rental, and additional charges.
Responding to the complaint, MWEB argued that it didn’t advertise free Internet, but free ADSL and that that the advertisement is targeted at business people who would not interpret the advertisement to include a free telephone line from a third party.
MWEB said that it does in fact offer free ADSL for the first month as the consumer need not pay for the ADSL connection, but added that it is not the duty of the Internet service provider (ISP) to provide any consumer with a telephone line.
The ASA dismissed the complaint, saying that a hypothetical reasonable person viewing the advertising would not be misled as a subscriber would understand that they will be billed by the ISP for the internet connection, and by Telkom for the line rental.
A once-off fee for an ADSL connection may also be incurred in the event that one did not have an ADSL line, the ASA said.