T-Mobile US said it will appeal several decisions made by the National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs to challenges brought by AT&T. The decisions involved “Phone Freedom” ads that appeared in television commercials, radio advertisements and on T-Mobile’s website. NAD oversees the veracity of telecommunications company claims.

The good news for T-Mobile is that NAD found at least one claim made in the “Phone Freedom” campaign to be supported. The bad news for T-Mobile is that some claims were not found to be supported. The campaign is focused on T-Mobile’s offer to pay off a customer’s phone contract and give a free 5G phone to customers who switch to T-Mobile’s Go5G Plan.

NAD found the T-Mobile claim — “AT&T and Verizon require three-year device financing to get their best offers & you lose your promo credits if you upgrade after two years” to be supported.

NAD found that several other claims were not supported. These include: “AT&T and Verizon rope you in with phone offers then bind you to a three-year device contract” and “You’re upgrade ready a year earlier.” The advertising watchdog said the claims overstate the limitations on AT&T customers’ ability to upgrade.

NAD also recommended T-Mobile discontinue or modify the claim “Introducing Go5G Plus, the first plan that always gives new and existing customers the same great device deals.”

Regarding T-Mobile’s offer to pay off the customer’s contract with a competitor and provide a free 5G phone to those switching to the Go5G Plus plan, NAD said:

  • T-Mobile sufficiently disclosed its payoff limit of $650 in its “Locked” television commercial but advised the carrier to modify its radio and website ads to note this information “in the claim itself or in similar font size and in immediate proximity to the claim.”
  • NAD also advised T-Mobile to “clearly and conspicuously disclose” the $830 price limitation in relation to the new 5G phone.

Although T-Mobile plans to challenge this NAD decision, the company has complied with previous NAD recommendations.

Joan Engebretson contributed to this report

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