National Advertising Division Recommends Comcast Modify or Discontinue Xfinity Mobile vs. T-Mobile Comparative Savings Claims

For Immediate Release
Contact: Abby Hills, Director of Communications, BBB National Programs
703.247.9330 / press@bbbnp.org

New York, NY – November 7, 2022 The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs analyzed comparative savings claims made by Comcast Cable Communications, LLC about its Xfinity Mobile Wireless service plan. NAD recommended that Comcast either discontinue a claim that Xfinity Mobile is 30% less than T-Mobile or modify the advertising to clearly and conspicuously disclose the T-Mobile plan that is the basis of comparison and the material differences between the plans.

NAD also recommended that Comcast:

  • Discontinue its “Unlimited data for $30/line” claims in the challenged advertising or modify the claims to disclose all material information associated with the plan.
  • Modify its advertising to avoid conveying the unsupported implied message that Xfinity is less expensive than T-Mobile regardless of how many mobile lines are purchased, and that Xfinity is less expensive than T-Mobile when four mobile lines are purchased.

 

The express and implied claims at issue appeared in a print mailer, an online paid Google ad, a commercial featuring the singer Becky G, and a commercial featuring characters from the animated movie “The Bad Guys.”

 

$30/Line Claims

At issue for NAD was whether Comcast properly disclosed all material information relating to its $30/Line claims in the context of the challenged advertising. NAD found that the following material conditions must be disclosed:

  • The advertised price of $30/Line applies only when the consumer purchases four lines;
  • A consumer must be an Xfinity Internet subscriber to obtain the $30/Line claim offer; and
  • The “unlimited data” promised by the $30/Line claim is subject to data throttling after 20GB of usage.

 

In both the mailer and the Google ad, NAD determined that the four-line purchase requirement is adequately conveyed because the claim itself included the information. And though the mailer clearly and conspicuously discloses the data throttling condition in a disclosure in close proximity to the $30/Line claim, the Google ad does not adequately convey the data throttling condition.

However, NAD found that both the mailer and Google ad do not adequately inform consumers that the $30/Line claim is limited to only Xfinity Internet subscribers.

NAD also recommended that Comcast disclose clearly and conspicuously the Xfinity Internet subscription and data throttling conditions in close proximity to the $30/Line claim.

 

30% Less Claims

The Becky G commercial also contains claims that Comcast’s Xfinity Mobile Unlimited plan is 30% less than T-Mobile’s Essentials plan. NAD noted that consumer expectation of “apples-to-apples” comparisons is predicated on the presumption that when an advertiser compares its product or service against those of its competitor, the advertiser is selecting the objects of comparison that are most relevant to consumers, i.e., the product or services that the consumer is most likely comparing when making a purchasing decision in the marketplace.

NAD assessed whether T-Mobile’s recently introduced Base Essentials plan, which offers a line of mobile wireless service with unlimited data for the same price as the Xfinity Mobile Unlimited Plan, renders Comcast’s 30% Less claims false. NAD concluded that T-Mobile’s Base Essentials plan is not a consumer-meaningful option because information about the plan is difficult for consumers to locate and there are hurdles to purchasing the services, such as the need to visit a T-Mobile store or call, that are not present with respect to T-Mobile’s other plans. Therefore, NAD concluded that the Base Essentials plan pricing does not prevent Xfinity Mobile from making its 30% Less claims.

However, because NAD determined that Comcast’s disclosures do not clearly communicate the basis of comparison to which the 30% Less claims are limited, NAD recommended that Comcast clearly and conspicuously disclose that the 30% Less claims are based on a comparison of the Xfinity Mobile Unlimited and T-Mobile Essentials plans in a way that is easy for consumers to notice, read, and understand. NAD noted that comparative price and savings claims must be narrowly drawn to avoid overstating comparative benefits.

 

Implied Claims

NAD determined that the Bad Guys commercial conveys the message that the price for four lines, or any number of lines, purchased through the Xfinity plan will be less expensive than the price currently available (inclusive of discounts) for the same number of lines under a competing mobile wireless plan. NAD found that such a message was unsupported since, at the time of the challenge, T-Mobile was offering a four-line price with autopay discounts that were less expensive than the four-line price under the Xfinity Mobile Unlimited plan. Therefore, NAD recommended that Comcast modify its advertising to avoid conveying these implied claims.

In its advertiser statement, Comcast stated that it “agrees to comply with NAD’s recommendations.” The advertiser further stated that it “appreciates NAD’s review and, in particular, is pleased that NAD followed the FTC’s .com Disclosures guidance concerning search engine advertising and space-constrained ads.”

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