GPS manufacturers remove ‘deceptive’ ad claims

By Mariam Cheik-Hussein | 23 January 2019

Three of Australia’s biggest GPS manufacturers have all agreed to remove ‘lifetime’ claims from their advertising, following complaints from the ACCC that it was potentially false, misleading or deceptive.

TomTom, NavMan and Garmin used the statement across their websites, packaging, point of sale marketing and in retailer’s catalogues and websites.

For example, Navman touted ‘Lifetime FREE Maps – never worry about maps again. Updated quarterly, you will always stay up to date with our Lifetime FREE Maps including updates to safety alerts at no additional cost.’

TomTom and Garmin made similar claims by using statements such as ‘Lifetime TomTom Traffic’ and ‘Free Lifetime Maps & Traffic’ respectively.

Despite these statement, all retained the right to stop providing services before the end of a product’s life.

The watchdog raised concerns the ads were misleading and didn’t communicate the limits of the promise well enough.

It also said that consumers would have rightly expected to receive those services for the entire life of a device without the manufacturer being able to unilaterally terminate the commitment.

“We believe the statements about ‘lifetime’ services made by these GPS manufacturers were inconsistent with what consumers would understand ‘lifetime’ to mean,” ACCC commissioner Sarah Court said.

“Businesses must not deceive or mislead consumers in advertising, whether through small print, or by using ill-defined, broad terms like ‘lifetime’.

“They should take care to use terms that match the understanding of consumers.”

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