ACCC orders GPS manufacturers

To amend advertising claims.

Three GPS navigation manufactures Tom Tom, Garmin and Navman have agreed to stop using ‘lifetime’ claims in their advertising of navigation services. It followed concerns raised by the ACCC that these statements were potentially false, misleading or deceptive.

Each manufacturer had made lifetime claims in marketing on their websites, packaging and point-of-sale, retailers’ catalogues and websites. Examples of the statements included: TomTom: ‘Lifetime TomTom Traffic’, Navman: ‘Lifetime Free Maps including updates to safety alerts at no additional cost’, and Garmin: ‘Free Lifetime Maps & Traffic’.

Despite these statements, each retained the discretion to stop providing these services before the end of the lifetime of the device in certain circumstances which the ACCC considered were not communicated to consumers in a prominent way.

“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. “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.

“Businesses must 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,” Court said.

TomTom, Navman and Garmin, agreed to amend their statements on all future advertising and marketing materials, including packaging.

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