Ad Alert

T-Mobile Jump

Might as well jump!

T-Mobile advertised its “Jump!” plan on television, radio, and the Internet as a way for consumers to “upgrade when you want, not when you’re told.” Ads told consumers that with the $10-a-month plan, they could trade in their phone whenever they’d like for a newer model.

But just as all that glitters is not gold, all phone company terms and conditions are not told. T-Mobile often failed to mention the existence of a deductible on lost or damaged phones. And so rival company Sprint challenged T-Mobile’s ad claims with The National Advertising Division (NAD) is the advertising industry’s self-regulatory body administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus., which reviewed the ads and found a few problems on T-Mobile’s website:

NAD was concerned that T-Mobile’s “$10 a month” claim appeared together with the claim regarding protection for damaged, lost or stolen phones and determined that a reasonable consumer could take away the message that he or she could be “protected” for “$10 a month,” even if his or her phone was lost or damaged.

The problem? If you dropped your phone in the toilet, cracked the screen, or were mugged—as T-Mobile’s series of ads showed—then the $10 a month would not completely cover you. You’d be on the hook for a deductible before you could get a replacement phone.

NAD recommended T-Mobile modify its ads to make the existence of the deductibles clearer.

T-Mobile has updated its website to mention the deductibles (in an FAQ question that takes two clicks to reveal), but it still doesn’t list the cost of deductibles as NAD recommended.

The lesson? Consumers should be sure to read and understand all the terms and conditions before believing an ad claim. If you break your phone, it’s probably going to cost you more than $10 no matter what plan you have.

Our Ad Alerts are not just about false and deceptive marketing issues, but may also be about ads that, although not necessarily deceptive, should be viewed with caution. Ad Alerts can also be about single issues and may not include a comprehensive list of all marketing issues relating to the brand discussed.

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