Lycamobile ad banned for sneaky 'half-price' SIM Only deal

Lycamobile SIM Only ad banned for sneaky hidden price hike

An advert for a SIM Only plan by Lycamobile which cheekily DOUBLED prices after just one month has been pulled from the airwaves.

The London-based mobile operator was told not to repeat the ad after authorities found it fundamentally misleading.

The offending advert for Lycamobile’s 30-day rolling UK Ultra Plan was spotted on Lycamobile’s website by an eagle-eyed reader on 15 May 2017.

It read: “UK ULTRA PLAN – 15GB – UNLIMITED UK MINS & TEXTS”, with the price “£25/30 DAYS” alongside, with “£25” crossed through.

Larger text underneath read “£12 when you buy a new SIM with plan online”, with a “Find out more” link next to it.

But the price of £12 only applied to the first 30 days.

After that, the price jumped back to £25 a month, more than double the original offering.

The Advertising Standards Authority upheld a complaint which said the average person would not understand that the price would shift back to the original amount after 30 days.

Lycamobile protested that the customer would not have been locked into paying the £25 as this was a SIM Only deal with a 30-day rolling contract.

But the ASA agreed this was a classic bait and switch move, where the advert didn’t make it clear the £12 offer was only valid for the first month.

The ASA considered consumers would understand the ad to mean that the usual price of £25 per 30 days for the UK Ultra Plan was reduced to £12 per 30 days for customers who bought a new SIM with their plan online.
Our understanding, however, was that the £12 price applied for the first 30 days only, after which it rose to £25 per 30 days. In the context of an ad for a 30-day rolling SIM contract, we considered that understanding that the offer price applied for the first 30 days only, and that the crossed through price applied for subsequent 30-day periods, was material information that should have been made clear in the ad.

- ASA ruling, 20 September 2017

A spokesperson for the ASA said: “The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Lycamobile UK Ltd to ensure their ads stated any material information that applied to claims in future.”

It’s not the first time that Lycamobile has been hauled in front of the industry regulator.

A Lycamobile ad suggesting that mobile users could get unlimited 4G data was proven to be false and misleading and banned by the ASA in 2014.

By:

Tom is a tech journalist and Editor at SimOnlyDeals.co.uk.
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