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Tom Tom, Navman and Garmin forced to remove ‘lifetime’ claims from advertising campaigns

Three manufactures of consumer GPS navigation products – Tom Tom, Navman and Garmin – have ceased using “lifetime” claims in their advertising, after concerns were raised by the watchdog, the ACCC, that the statements were potentially false, misleading or deceptive.

The lifetime claims came with disclaimers and provisions, which ACCC commissioner Sarah Court said was out of step with how consumers would interpret and understand the phrase.

Free maps for life?

Tom Tom’s claim was “Lifetime Tom Tom traffic”, while Navman guaranteed “Lifetime FREE maps”, and Garmin promised both free lifetime maps and traffic.

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

“Consumers would have rightly expected to receive those services for the lifetime of the device, without the manufacturer being able to unilaterally terminate the commitment.”

Court also reminded advertisers more broadly of their responsibilities, and encourages consumers to stand up for themselves.

“Businesses myst not deceive or mislead consumers in advertising, whether through small print, or by using ill-defined, broad terms like ‘lifetime’, and they should take care to use terms that match the understanding of consumers,” she said.

“We also encourage consumers to invoke their consumer rights if they believe they have been misled or are not getting what they paid for.”

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