Mobile firm issued notice on deceptive marketing practice -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Mobile firm issued notice on deceptive marketing practice

ISLAMABAD: The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP), while taking suo moto notice, has issued a show cause notice to a mobile operator for deceptive marketing practices on its advertisement.

According to a CCP statement issued here on Tuesday the Office Of Fair Trading (OFT) of the CCP taking suo moto notice has issued notice under Section 30 of the Competition Ordinance, 2007. The Undertaking through various media channels is advertising its offer, in which it has been publicised that the users of the network can now call to one number of any network at ‘a specific rate’ and they can change that number anytime. It has been alleged in the show cause notice that the undertaking through its advertisement aired on various TV channels appears to be distributing false or misleading information to customers lacking a reasonable basis related to the price, character and/or suitability for use of the product advertised.

There is no mention of the duration of call, on which the package will be charged by the undertaking in the script of the advertisement; there is no condition in the script that the offer is valid only on that package; there is no mention in the script that Rs 15 + tax will be charged for each addition or modification of offer number and the last slide attached with the script is flashed on the TV for not more than 2 seconds, which does not appear to be a reasonable time to inform the customers about the important feature of the package.

It has also been alleged that such advertisement is also capable of harming the business interests of other undertakings. The operator has been given 14 days to file its written reply and the case has been fixed for hearing on February 02, 2009.

Consumer protection is an important aspect of the Competition Ordinance and consumers and businesses have a right to expect certain standards of quality, performance, safety from the goods and services they purchase.

It is, therefore, necessary to ensure that information provided with these goods and services is accurate and includes information required by law such as price, weight, contents and/or terms and conditions of services.

The OFT in this regard is empowered to enforce Section 10 of the ordinance which prohibits business entities from distributing false or misleading information lacking a reasonable basis relating to price, quality, and suitability of use, among other areas and that can cause harm to consumers and other businesses. False or misleading comparison of goods is also prohibited under this section.

Source: Daily Times