The Desk appreciates the support of readers who purchase products or services through links on our website. Learn more...

NARB says Mint Mobile should disclose up-front pricing in ads

The regulatory board also said Mint Mobile needs to stop disparaging rival Verizon in social media posts.

The regulatory board also said Mint Mobile needs to stop disparaging rival Verizon in social media posts.

T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert (left) and actor Ryan Reynolds announce T-Mobile's acquisition of Mint Mobile. (Still frame courtesy T-Mobile, Graphic by The Desk)
T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert (left) and actor Ryan Reynolds announce T-Mobile’s acquisition of Mint Mobile. (Still frame courtesy T-Mobile, Graphic by The Desk)

A panel for the National Advertising Review Board (NARB) is urging Mint Mobile to modify its marketing to consumers after finding some of the wireless company’s advertised prices had the potential to mislead phone shoppers.

On Thursday, the NARB said Mint Mobile’s use of per-month pricing in some of its commercials was potentially deceiving because the wireless phone provider generally requires customers to pay for several months of service at a time.

For instance, some advertisements say Mint Mobile offers wireless service for as little as $15 per month, but doesn’t conspicuously disclose that the low price of phone service is only applicable when customers buy three months of service at a time.

The NARB also said Mint Mobile should stop disparaging rival phone company Verizon in social media posts, and discontinue the use of certain language that suggested Mint passed on certain savings to customers by cutting out certain retail services.

Verizon first complained about Mint Mobile’s marketing and social media activities last year, filing a grievance with the National Advertising Division (NAD), which operates as an extension of the Better Business Bureau.

Last October, the NAD upheld some of Verizon’s complaints, telling Mint it should fully disclose the upfront price of its unlimited wireless talk and data plans and stop disparaging Verizon on social media. In some cases, Mint Mobile’s social media posts contained the hashtag “#verizonsucks” and accused the company of charging for perks that customers previously received for free.

In its order, the NAD said Mint Mobile had the opportunity to explain why it felt Verizon sucked and to justify its other social media posts, but Mint “did not adequately support these broad disparaging messages.”

Mint disagreed with the order and appealed it, which brought the issue before the NARB. On Thursday, NARB said it upheld the NAD’s earlier decision in full. Mint intends to comply with the recommendations, but still says it disagrees with the outcome of the case, an official with the NARB said in a statement on Thursday.

Verizon competitor T-Mobile agreed to acquire the parent company of Mint Mobile last March. The purchase is still pending certain regulatory approvals, and could be challenged by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Get stories like these in your inbox, plus free breaking news alerts on business and policy matters involving media and tech.

Get stories like these in your inbox, plus free breaking news alerts on business and policy matters involving media and tech.

Photo of author

About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 11 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
Home » News » Industries » Technology » NARB says Mint Mobile should disclose up-front pricing in ads