New York, NY – February 28, 2023 – In a Fast-Track SWIFT challenge brought by AT&T Services, Inc., the National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs recommended that Verizon Communications, Inc. modify disclosures used in connection with its claim that consumers who switch to Verizon will get service “for just $25 a line guaranteed for three years.”
Fast-Track SWIFT is an expedited challenge process designed for single-issue advertising cases brought to NAD.
AT&T challenged a pricing claim made by Verizon in a television commercial featuring actress Cecily Strong and actor Paul Giamatti, who portrays Albert Einstein. The commercial promotes Verizon’s “Welcome Unlimited” plan where consumers who switch to Verizon can get service “for just $25 a line guaranteed for three years.”
In this challenge, NAD considered whether the challenged Verizon television commercial accurately and effectively conveyed the message that the “guaranteed” monthly $25 per line price is exclusive of taxes and fees.
NAD noted that in advertising the price of a product or service, the total price the consumer will pay is material to the purchasing decision, especially in advertisements for monthly services. As a result, it is material that the advertised price of $25 per line excludes taxes and fees and this material limitation on the advertised prices must be clearly and conspicuously disclosed.
To inform consumers of the material limitation of the price guarantee (it excludes taxes and fees), NAD recommended that Verizon modify its disclosures to make them clear and conspicuous and easy for consumers to notice, read, and understand:
- For example, the advertiser should keep the taxes and fees disclosure on screen at all times the actors are discussing the offer and separate it from the long block text disclosure at the bottom of the screen.
- Additionally, the fee disclosure should be incorporated in the main claim or in similar size text and font in close proximity to the main claim or disclosed in the audio.
NAD determined that the AT&T challenge was appropriate for Fast-Track SWIFT as NAD’s review did not require the review of complex evidence or substantiation related to the advertiser’s pricing claim.
In its advertiser statement, Verizon stated that it will comply with NAD’s recommendation that it make its disclosure even more proximate to the claim even though reasonable consumers understand taxes and fees are separate from the advertised rate and two disclosures appeared on screen twice.
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About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs, a non-profit organization, is the home of U.S. independent industry self-regulation, currently operating more than a dozen globally recognized programs that have been helping enhance consumer trust in business for more than 50 years. These programs provide third-party accountability and dispute resolution services that address existing and emerging industry issues, create a fairer playing field for businesses, and a better experience for consumers. BBB National Programs continues to evolve its work and grow its impact by providing business guidance and fostering best practices in arenas such as advertising, child-and-teen-directed marketing, data privacy, dispute resolution, automobile warranty, technology, and emerging areas. To learn more, visit bbbprograms.org.
About the National Advertising Division: The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs provides independent self-regulation and dispute resolution services, guiding the truthfulness of advertising across the U.S. NAD reviews national advertising in all media and its decisions set consistent standards for advertising truth and accuracy, delivering meaningful protection to consumers and leveling the playing field for business.
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