ASA Still Won't Limit Use Of 'Unlimited'

14 January 2009

It seems that ‘unlimited’ still doesn’t mean ‘not limited, unrestricted, unconfined; having no restrictions or controls; without qualification or exception,’ as dictionary.com would have us believe. Not if you’re the Advertising Standards Authority anyway.

Among their latest rundown of adjudications is their response to a complaint about an ad by Carphone Warehouse offshoot e2save that puffed its chest out and boasted of "unlimited data" with an Orange contract for the BlackBerry 9000 Bold.

However, if the potential customer were to scroll down the ad to the small print, unfurl their jeweller’s eyepiece and have a bit of a butchers, they’d realise that the data was restricted to 250MB per month in keeping with their fair use policy. Not unlimited then, by any definition of the word.

e2save claimed that 1MB of mobile data would “160 WAP pages, 100 short emails, four video clips or three music tracks”. Three music tracks? 1MB? Well that’s bollocks for a start. Chuck in the fact that the 9000 Bold has a full web browser and the stuff about WAP pages starts to look faintly redundant as well.

But, in their infinite wisdom, the ASA has let another company off the hook over the true meaning of ‘unlimited’ and the tiresome trend for using the word when referring to nothing of the sort will continue.

TOPICS:   Advertising   Mobile

8 comments

  • tony
    Orange do the same, their 'Unlimited Data' is limited to only 250MB of data!
  • Andy D.
    Looks like it's the same tariff that featured in the complaint Tony. My apologies - should have mentioned that in the original post. Quick edit coming...
  • The B.
    That's not fair, you've left out so many important details. The ASA is like any other governing body, OFTEL, OFWAT, etc, who are all made up of a network of old boys from the industry they're overseeing, thus any time an official complaint is made by a consumer or a smaller rival company the old boys network will rally round to make sure that no one is fined and the complaint is thrown out forthwith.
  • Cam
    If you acutally read the ASA Adjudication, you will see that the unlimted terminology did not breach the fair useage policy and thus there is nothing wrong here. Plus - only 1 guy complained!! You'd have a story if 500 complained!!
  • Andy
    but, surely if you offer someone unlimited data, and you only give them 250mb, then something is wrong!?!
  • Anon
    250mb is pathetic!!!!!!!!!! If it was 1GB like t-mob and 3, then yeah I understand - but 250mb? Might as well not bother!!!!!!!!!
  • Mike H.
    Come on, a WAP is not as good as a FAP
  • Scott W.
    How about contacting the Oxford English Dictionary and ask them to change the definition of "Unlimited" to "Restricted to a Fair use as described in the small print".

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