If it’s too good to be true, usually it is! A consumer brought to our attention a Cellefonic advert in The Voucher Issue 81. This advert was offering a series of mobile phones at very advantageous prices. However, these could only be obtained once the consumer enters into a two-year contract paying €15 per month. Otherwise, one has to pay a much higher price.
We phoned to confirm this. As an example we took we asked about Samsung S5830 whose price was indicated €100. However, you can only take it if you enter into the above mentioned two-year contract. Otherwise one pays a hefty €175! When asked why the difference as there was nothing indicated in the advert, we were informed that there is a sign “*pm 15”.
On inspecting again the advert there was no explanation of the asterisk. Thus a normal consumer can easily take this to mean that one can pay by instalments of €15 monthly.
This is nothing but a misleading advertisement which is giving partial information to consumers and lure them to the shop.
We wrote to Cellefonic to inform them that their advert is nothing but a bait advertisement. We also wrote to ‘The Voucher’ management informing them of this misleading advert. We informed them of their responsibility both to inform consumers correctly and also of their responsibility towards other businesses who advertise in the magazine as their reputation can easily be tarnished due to the fact that they are advertising in a magazine with misleading advertisement.
Finally, we also wrote to the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority to take the necessary action.