Mint Mobile’s ads touting a promotional rate of $15 a month for wireless service didn’t adequately disclose how much customers would actually have to pay, the National Advertising Review Board ruled on Thursday.
The NARB, which is part of the non-profit BBB National Programs, said that its marketing failed to disclose that customers would need to pay upfront for three months of service, equating to $45. Since Mint Mobile is a prepaid service, customers need to pay for their service ahead of time.
Verizon filed the complaint against Mint Mobile, which has agreed to be purchased by rival T-Mobile.
Companies regularly file complaints to the National Advertising Division of the BBB National Programs, and it’s up to the NARB to decide whether there’s a violation. These complaints have become increasingly important as these companies more aggressively tout their service — while elbowing the competition.
The NARB recommended that Mint discontinue to the claim that “cut out the cost of retail service and passed those sweet savings directly to you” because there was no evidence that it actually passes along any savings to customers.
The panel also recommended Mint stop using these phrases, which it called disparaging and misleading.
- “Ver!zon Victim finally catching on to their shadiness.”
- “Ver!zon employee trying to convince you that paying for streaming services you used to get for free is a good thing.”
- “POV: “Ver!zon distracting us so we don’t realize they are now charging for perks.”
- “Ver!zon Victim, “Beware of the Bundlef*!”
- “What a Bundlef*! “Ver!zon’s ‘perks’ are now on you. Don’t let them stream you along.”
But the NARB said it would allow phrases like “#verizonsucks” as standalone phrases, since they constituted “opinion and puffery.”
The NARB included a statement from Mint saying that it disagreed with the ruling, but would comply with the recommendations. It also supported the pane’s decision that the total prepaid cost of the service doesn’t need to “be part of the main claim or in similar font as the main claim in order to be sufficiently conspicuous.”
Correction: The story mistakenly said that T-Mobile’s pending deal to buy Mint Mobile had gone through.