Case Studies - Customer Service - Sales

TDR Case Note T018300 (2016)


The Customer complained to TDR that the Provider’s mobile app was misleading in that it did not accurately reflect what was being purchased. The app gave the option of making a one-off debit/credit card top-up for purchasing the extras. However, that top-up would automatically top up again in one month if there was credit on the account.

There is the ability to turn off the auto top-up but the Customer felt that it was not clear enough when making the purchase that this needed to be done.

The Customer asked that the app be amended to provide a genuinely “one-off” top-up as it could cost more money than the Customer intended by auto renewing.

The Provider stated the prepaid plans and prepaid extras are set to auto renew unless turned off. The Provider did not offer a one-off top-up button for extras. It relied on the terms and conditions. And noted the app states “by adding auto top-up you accept the terms and conditions”.

Adjudicator’s decision

The Adjudicator considered the layout of the Provider’s app and held as follows:

  1. Section 7 of the Code provides that all information given to the Customer will be accurate and up to date.
  2. The complaint should be considered under the Fair Trading Act 1986 as that Act deals with misleading and deceptive conduct.
  3. The Customer believes that he, and the Provider’s other customers, are being misled by the “one-off” top-up button which is not genuinely a one-off occurrence.
  4. The situation could be remedied by providing clear buttons to opt in to receive a recurring purchase.

The Customer’s complaint was upheld as being a breach of the Code and the Fair Trading Act with regard to misleading conduct.