Following National Advertising Division Recommendation, Charter Agrees to Modify Spectrum Mobile Cost Savings Claim

New York, NY – February 21, 2024 – In a Fast-Track SWIFT challenge brought by Verizon Communications Inc., BBB National Programs’ National Advertising Division recommended that Charter Communications, Inc. discontinue the claim that Verizon customers will “save over $1,500 in their first year” if they switch to Spectrum Mobile or modify the claim by adding or improving certain disclosures.

Fast-Track SWIFT is an expedited process designed for single-issue advertising cases brought to the National Advertising Division (NAD).

The challenged claim appeared in commercials for Spectrum Mobile comparing costs between two couples with different mobile carriers. “George and Heidi” with Verizon stand under a “Verizon” heading and “Dan and Tina” with Spectrum Mobile and stand under a “Spectrum Mobile” heading. Under the headings, both couples are shown to have two lines, unlimited data, and nationwide 5G. Large print text states that Spectrum Mobile customers “SAVE OVER $1,500 FIRST YEAR.” George and Heidi are told that they pay “way too much” and decide that they are “switching to Spectrum.” 

NAD considered whether a consumer interested in maximizing savings would reasonably assume that the comparison involves the two least expensive or entry-level plans. NAD concluded that while Charter may compare the pricing of two plans at different “tiers” within the carriers’ offerings, in this context, it must be clear that the lowest tier Spectrum Mobile plan is being compared with a plan that is not Verizon’s lowest tier plan.

In addition, NAD considered whether the advertising omits material information, specifically, the requirement that one must have Spectrum Internet to take advantage of the offer for Spectrum Mobile. NAD determined that the disclosure that Spectrum Internet is required is not clear and conspicuous.

For these reasons, NAD recommended that Charter discontinue the claim that “With Verizon, George and Heidi pay way more for their two unlimited lines,” along with several other claims including “ONLY $29.99 / MO FOR 12 MOS;” “SAVE OVER $1,500 FIRST YEAR;” “$1,516.68 Savings First Year;” “No Hidden Fees;” “No Added Taxes,” or modify the claim to clearly and conspicuously disclose the Spectrum Internet requirement as well as the plans forming the basis of the price comparison and otherwise avoid conveying the message that Verizon does not offer a lower price tier.  

In its advertiser statement, Charter stated that while it “disagrees that its existing disclosures were insufficient” it “will comply with NAD’s recommendations to improve the disclosures it includes with its savings claim for Spectrum Mobile.”

All BBB National Programs case decision summaries can be found in the case decision library. For the full text of NAD, NARB, and CARU decisions, subscribe to the online archive. Per NAD/NARB procedures, this release shall not be used for advertising or promotional purposes.


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