AT&T has taken issue with Comcast’s advertising claims and filed a complaint with the National Advertising Division, a branch of the Better Business Bureau. While many industries use dubious claims to sell their products, the wireless-phone business is infamous for ads that pick and choose data to make their products look better than they are. However, AT&T believes that Comcast has crossed the line with three of its advertising claims about its Xfinity Mobile service. The NAD agreed that the cable and internet company should make major changes to its ads, but Comcast has appealed the decision.
Important Details about Comcast Accused of Making Claims That Mislead Consumers –
– AT&T accuses Comcast of making unsubstantiated claims in its advertising
– Advertising claims that shade the truth to make products appear better are common in many industries
– The wireless-phone business often picks and chooses data to make products look superior
– The National Advertising Division (NAD) agreed with AT&T’s complaint and ruled that Comcast needed to make changes to three claims in ads for its wireless phone service
– The NAD recommended that Comcast modifies its advertising to clearly disclose that its ‘fastest mobile service’ is based on combined WiFi and cellular speeds and that the claim is true only within its WiFi footprint or when connected to WiFi
– Comcast appealed the NAD’s decision, stating that it believed the claims made about its Xfinity mobile service are truthful about its unique benefits
– The NAD found that Comcast’s ‘best network’ claim was broad and unqualified, and recommended that it be discontinued
– Comcast left out information when it claimed to offer the ‘fastest mobile service’, and the NAD recommended that it should clearly and conspicuously disclose that an Xfinity internet subscription is required for its mobile service.
In an industry where companies often bend the truth to make their products look more appealing, AT&T has accused Comcast of making unsubstantiated claims in its advertising. While most industries roll out such exaggerated claims, the wireless-phone business specifically has, time and again, indulged in them. There are no standard benchmarks for claims like “best,” “fastest,” or “most reliable” when it comes to wireless networks, allowing market leaders like Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T to cherry-pick data they want to show customers.
For instance, according to the most recent RootMetrics report, Verizon and T-Mobile both claim to offer the “best 5G” and the “most reliable 5G” coverage, respectively. However, such claims do not paint a complete picture of their performance. Despite the industry’s history of slanted claims, there is a difference between leveraging facts that make a product look good and making baseless and misleading claims.
Recently, AT&T filed a complaint against Comcast, a wireless carrier, over their advertising, citing unsubstantiated claims that Comcast needed to modify in its ads. The claims in question are:
– Comcast’s Xfinity Mobile service is the “fastest mobile service.”
– The service is the “most reliable,” “highest-ranked,” and “best” network service.
– Xfinity Mobile service can be purchased regardless of a consumer’s internet subscription status.
The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB upheld points one and two but challenged the third point. According to NAD, consumers need to know that an Xfinity Internet subscription is required to purchase Xfinity’s mobile service. As stated in previous cases, the fact that a cellular service can only be purchased if the consumer also subscribes to a residential internet service is a material limitation that must be disclosed.
Comcast Has Appealed the Decision
As an appellate-level truth-in-advertising body of BBB National Programs, the National Advertising Review Board (NARB) has granted Comcast an appeals process. Comcast disagrees with NAD’s decision, stating that the challenged advertising messages are true and convey the unique benefits of the Xfinity Mobile service. They are also concerned that the decision is inconsistent with previous cases addressing similar claims made by other wireless carriers.
NAD has not yet indicated the current status of Comcast’s appeal. However, it scrutinized Comcast’s advertising for making potentially misleading statements. It concluded that the “best network” claim is broad, unqualified, and not backed up by any evidence to support a range of superiority messages conveyed by its “best network” claim, leading NAD to recommend its discontinuation. Additionally, when Xfinity Mobile advertised itself as the “fastest mobile service,” the disclosures presented in its ads failed to inform consumers fully of the “fastest” claim’s circumstances.
NAD recommended that Comcast modify its advertisements to clearly disclose that its “fastest mobile service” claim is valid only within its WiFi footprint or when connected to WiFi. Thus, in conclusion, AT&T and NAD’s views may not differ when it comes to advertising falsehoods or misleading claims made by wireless carriers. However, the verdict on how far is too far continues to be hotly debated, even though advertising always operates on the knife-edge of truth and exaggeration.