The Advertising Standards Authority has dismissed a complaint against Afrihost’s “contract-free voice, data & SMS” advertising.
The complainant argued that Afrihost’s claim of “no contracts. no commitments” was misleading, because “the words… when signing up… clearly refers to some sort of agreement”.
He said payment for purchase of services and bundles can only be made by debit order or credit card. “Surely this reduces the interaction to a contract,” he said.
“The fact that… notice may/must be [served]… implies unambiguously that there is an active agreement between the parties. This is different to what is implied in the advertisement.”
Afrihost responded, saying it does not enter into contracts, but concludes month-to-month agreements with clients for services rendered.
As such, it agrees to offer a service and the client agrees to pay for that service up front via a selected payment method.
Should a client not agree to these terms, then Afrihost will not provide its services. It added that a client may cancel the service at any time without incurring any cancellation fees.
The ASA agreed with Afrihost, stating that payment through debit order cannot amount to a contract in a legal sense.
“The advertisement states very clearly that it operates on a month-to-month basis. That does not mean that every month the consumer will enter into a contract with the service provider,” said the ASA.
“It is therefore our view that Afrihost’s advertisement does not involve the signing of a long-term contract that has cancellation fees or penalties.”
The ASA dismissed the complaint.