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O2 iPhone 5 claim misleading: ASA

Telecoms giant O2 made a misleading claim over how quickly it would fulfil orders for the new iPhone 5, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled.

Information on the company's website implied that all orders placed before 4pm on the day before launch would be delivered next day, but that was not the case, the ASA said.

Claims on www.o2.co.uk, in a frequently asked question about the release of the phone, said: "When will my iPhone 5 pre-order be delivered? If we get your pre-order before 4pm the day before launch, we'll get it to you on launch day. The only exception to this will be those customers with an address in the Highlands and Islands."

Six complainants, five of whom had ordered the phone and not received it on launch day, challenged whether the claim was misleading.

Telefonica UK, trading as O2, explained there were different types of orders for the launch.

Consumers could make a special order prior to launch which would be dispatched to arrive on launch day and this was named a pre-order.

Once their initial stock was fully allocated to customers who had pre-ordered, they stopped accepting these and accepted orders that would be met from future supplies, which were known as standard orders.

The company said it should have been made clear to customers buying before launch whether they had made a pre-order or a standard order, and those making a standard order should have been informed that the product could take up to three weeks to be dispatched.

O2 said 100% of pre-orders were dispatched as planned for launch day. The company said that in hindsight it appeared some people making standard orders while the frequently asked question was online may have been confused by it, believing it applied to their order.

The ASA said it did not consider that the claim in the frequently asked questions made the distinction between the two types of order clear to readers, who would infer that all orders placed before 4pm the day before launch would be delivered on launch day.

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