ICT firms forced to be honest

| 19/12/2016 | 10 Comments

(CNS): Telecom companies are being held to account for claims in their advertising based on new guidelines from the Information & Communications Technology Authority (ICTA). The Truth in Advertising Guidelines (TAG) will help consumers understand what they should expect and accept in adverts from telecoms providers, officials said. The competing phone and internet service providers will now have to be honest about the extent of their coverage, capability and exactly how much customer are paying and for what.

“The key is to be as open and transparent as possible,” said Alee Fa’amoe, ICTA Managing Director. “There should be no omitting or hiding of material information that a consumer needs in order to make an informed decision in relation to the purchase or continued use of an ICT service. Consumers have a right to receive clear, intelligible, unambiguous, timely information, and the ICTA is committed to helping licensees meet their obligations to their customers and increasing consumer satisfaction.”

Fa’amoe said licensees should clearly state factors that might limit the availability of an ICT service in certain areas of the island. In the case of mobile network providers, those factors include the type of handset being used, a caller’s proximity to a mobile cell-site tower or the volume of calls and data sessions being made by other callers using the same mobile cell-site.

“Marketing communications should not mislead the average consumer, or be likely to do so,” said Fa’amoe. “If a licensee makes a claim about its service coverage numerical or geographical that is likely to be understood by consumers as the availability of that service across the Cayman Islands, licensees should be able to demonstrate that the service is obtainable to that relevant consumer base.”

Fa’amoe said that the days of broad, sweeping, general statements that are not, and cannot be, supported are “long gone”.  He added, “Consumers are more sophisticated and want to see concrete evidence that backs up their service providers’ claims.”

The new guidelines also indicate that price statements about any ICT service should include information about how costs are calculated as well as the definite prices. They require providers to include surcharges, fees and miscellaneous charges collected from consumers on behalf of government or the authorities and state costs the law allows the licensee to pass onto its consumers as a surcharge.

The TAG covers exaggerated claims about the capability or performance of an ICT service; licensees’ comparisons of and claims against competitors. Licensees will not be allowed to discredit or degrade another ICT service, trade mark or the reputation of a competitor. They will also be required to be honest about endorsements or testimonials and the proper use of the word “guarantee” as it relates to warranties and after-sales service agreements.

The Truth in Advertising Guidelines cover advertisements in newspapers, magazines, brochures, leaflets, circulars, mailings, e-mails, text transmissions including SMS and MMS, fax transmissions and other electronic or printed material; advertorials; cinema, television, radio, video, DVD advertisements; online advertisements, web search listings, preferential listings on price comparison sites, viral advertisements, in-game advertisements and other online advertisements and promotions; point-of-sale displays; posters and other promotional media (including moving images); promotions; and sponsorships.

For more information about the TAG, contact Sonji Myles, Acting Deputy Director Industry Affairs on 746-9611 or sonji.myles@icta.ky

See the new guidelines in the CNS Library

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Category: Local News, Utilities

Comments (10)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I live in West Bay and was promised choice of Internet years ago. Still I am paying $89 per month while selective consumers get choice and discount. Why can’t they just impose a rate cap and stop making me subsidize the other part of their operations. So they can cheapen up service unfairly in GT and SMB to increase unfair competition and profit off the outskirts

  2. Knot S Smart says:

    Telephone service will get better quickly…
    Just like the fuel prices came down…
    Wait.. whatever happened about the fuel prices coming down?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Sad that the public service has to remind the private sector to be honest. Thank you public service for all that you do.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Lets see how soon before we hear that the Telecoms Providers will have to use a special Advertising Firm to be in compliance with this new TAG.

    Or will ICTA now have the power to sanction the advertising companies for allowing adds that are to attract customers? Is this not what advertising is all about?

    There is already small print. I am all for regulatory practices, but please do not turn Cayman into communist type monitoring. Grow up.

    Cayman based market is one of the smallest in the region and its not cheap to put up with all these new rules just for one or two persons that did not read the small print or expecting complete Island Wide coverage.

    How about the consumers that purchase products on contract and do not fulfill the terms and condition set out when sign off? Will ICTA take those consumers to court?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Too bad it took this long.

  6. ha says:

    this wont help, they already ignore the rules

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