BBB National Programs National Advertising Review Board Recommends Spectrum Disclose Limitations to Comparative Savings Claims for Spectrum Mobile Service

For Immediate Release

Contact: Saveeta Dhanai, National Advertising Review Board Coordinator, 212.705.0115 / sdhanai@bbbnp.org


New York, NY – Feb. 13, 2020 – A panel of the National Advertising Review Board (NARB) has recommended that Charter Communications, Inc. d/b/a Spectrum modify comparative savings claims to clearly and conspicuously disclose limitations on the service. NARB is the appellate unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. The advertising at issue had been challenged by T-Mobile USA, Inc. before the National Advertising Division (NAD).  NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation and is a division of the BBB National Programs’ self-regulatory and dispute resolution programs. Following NAD’s decision, Spectrum appealed certain recommendations made by NAD.

With regard to claims that switching to Spectrum Mobile will result in annual savings of “up to $300” or “up to 40%,” or that Spectrum Mobile provides the “Best Value,” agreeing with NAD’s findings and recommendations in the underlying decision, the NARB panel recommended that the claims should be modified to clearly and conspicuously disclose that there are differences in data usage limitations between Spectrum Mobile and competing providers, and that the savings are only available to consumers subscribing to one line of service. 

Further, in the underlying decision, NAD determined that the challenged “Monsters Diner” and “Thesaurus” commercials convey the message that anyone paying for less than four lines pays $70 per line to T-Mobile. However, because T-Mobile offers a deal for consumers purchasing two or three lines, NAD found the four-line claim not supported. The NARB panel agreed with NAD’s analysis on this issue. Further, with regard to Spectrum’s “Monsters Diner” commercial, NAD concluded that the claim “confusing deals with catches are evil. Spectrum Mobile doesn’t do that,” followed by the tagline “T-Mobile bad. Spectrum good” conveys the unsupported message that T-Mobile offers confusing deals with catches, and NAD recommended that it be discontinued. As to the “confusing” reference, the panel agreed with NAD’s conclusion that Charter has not shown that T-Mobile’s offers are “confusing,” and therefore in this context should not characterize T-Mobile’s offers as either confusing or “evil.”

Charter stated that it will comply with NAD’s recommendations. Charter added that it “is disappointed with NAD’s and, now, NARB’s decision,” contending that it “did not have the opportunity during the NAD proceeding to respond to NAD’s determinations that (i) Charter’s ‘up to 40%’ savings claims somehow imply savings on more than one line, and (ii) the difference between 20 GB and 50 GB is ‘material.’”

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About the National Advertising Review Board: The National Advertising Review Board (NARB) is the appellate body for advertising industry self-regulation. NARB’s membership is composed of 87 professionals from three different categories: national advertisers (49 members), advertising agencies (26 members), and public members (12) made up of academics and former members of the public sector.

About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs (BBB NP) fosters trust, innovation, and competition in the marketplace through the development and delivery of cost-effective, third-party self-regulation, dispute resolution and other programs. The programs were formerly administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. BBB NP is the home of industry self-regulatory and dispute resolution programs that include the National Advertising Division (NAD), National Advertising Review Board (NARB), BBB EU Privacy Shield, BBB AUTO LINE, Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI), Children’s Confection Advertising Initiative (CCAI), Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC), Digital Advertising Accountability Program (Accountability Program), and the Coalition for Better Advertising Dispute Resolution Program (CBA DRM). The programs are designed to resolve business issues and advance shared objectives by responding to marketplace concerns to create a better customer experience. To learn more about industry self-regulation, please visit: BBBNP.org


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