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Home Rulings ADT / ALARM SYSTEM / LEHLOHONOLO EXLEY MOTITIMI / 2018-7350F

ADT / ALARM SYSTEM / LEHLOHONOLO EXLEY MOTITIMI / 2018-7350F

Mr Motitimi lodged a consumer complaint against the Respondent’s pamphlet promoting its armed response security services.

The pamphlet states the following:
"JOIN ADT TODAY WITH AN ADT AUTHORISED DEALER
Get a FREE* rented alarm system worth R5 500 when signing a 24-month contract.

*installation fees may apply

T’s & C’s apply. Subject to Credit clearance. Offer is limited to the ADT Basic Alarm.”

COMPLAINT

The Complainant submitted that pamphlet is misleading as he did enter into a 24-month contract with the advertiser but was never given the promised "alarm system worth R5 500”. He explained that the alarm system they wanted to give was not the same as the one advertised. The Complainant contacted the ADT head office complaining about this issue, but nothing was done about it.

RELEVANT CLAUSE OF THE CODE OF ADVERTISING PRACTICE

In light of the complaint Clause 4.2.1 of Section II (Misleading claims) was taken into consideration.

RESPONSE

At the outset, the Respondent pointed out that it is not a member of the ASA and does not have to respond to the complaint. The Respondent submitted that ADT has three sales channels working in the South African market and one of them is the dealer sales channel. The other two sales channels are called in-house sales representation and a direct sales channel. 

It was also explained that the dealer sales channel and our other sales channels do not offer the same products because of the structure used with regards to the contracts between the dealers and ADT and the different focus that the channels have. The Respondent also submitted that the dealer in question is Waynet Security (Pty) Ltd, and the pamphlet under investigation is no longer in circulation and is therefore not being utilised by any of the dealers. It confirmed that it will not be used in future.

ASA DIRECTORATE RULING

The ASA Directorate considered all the relevant documentation submitted by the respective parties.

Jurisdiction

The Respondent argued that it is not a member of the ASA but "want clarity on the matter to prevail”.

In The Advertising Standards Authority v Herbex (Pty) Ltd (902/16) [2017] ZASCA 132 the Supreme Court of Appeal found, inter alia, that:

1.1 the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (the ASA) has no jurisdiction over any person or entity who is not a member of the ASA and that the ASA may not, in the absence of a submission to its jurisdiction, require non-members to participate in its processes, issue any instruction, order or ruling against the non-member or sanction it;
1.2 the ASA may consider and issue a ruling to its members (which is not binding on non-members) on any advertisement regardless of by whom it is published to determine, on behalf of its members, whether its members should accept any advertisement before it is published or should withdraw any advertisement if it has been published.

The ASA will therefore proceed to consider this matter for the guidance of its members.

Merits

The ASA has a long-standing principle which holds that where an advertiser provides an unequivocal undertaking to withdraw or amend its advertising in a manner that addresses the concerns raised, the undertaking may, at the discretion of the ASA, be accepted without considering the merits of the matter.

The Respondent submitted that the advertising in question is no longer in use and that it will not be used it the future. 

This undertaking appears to address the concerns raised by the Complainant, and it is therefore accepted on condition that the advertisement is not used again in the current format in future.


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