Cape Town – The South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) has been ordered to remove a misleading e-toll advert.
According to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) Sanral omitted vital information which was likely to create a misleading expectation, “with listeners believing that they are already entitled to the various savings, when in fact this is not yet the case”.
A consumer lodged a complaint against a Sanral radio commercial broadcast during the month of June which stated that the government was giving consumers "a new e-toll dispensation".
According to the commercial the government reduced the rate to “30 cents per kilometre for light motor vehicles and slashed the monthly cap by 50%. If you have outstanding e-toll fees dating back to December 2013, you will receive a 60% discount and 6 months to pay”.
The complainant submitted that the commercial was misleading in that it suggested that the new dispensation and associated discounts were available to motorists. Yet, the 60% discount was not yet active and consumers would be paying more than they believed they were liable for.
The ASA found the commercial to be misleading and ordered its withdrawal with immediate effect.
In a statement on Monday the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) accused Sanral of wasting tax-payers' money "by spending millions of rands" on an ineffective marketing campaign “to seduce the public into accepting an irrational and unjust scheme”.
“What makes matters worse for the tax-payer is that Sanral approves of their advertising company’s production and airing of these misleading adverts,” it said.
In June 2014 Sanral was also forced to pull an advert in which it claimed to have sold 1.2 million e-tolling tags.
The ASA found that the agency could not prove its figures and thus could not make the claim in its adverts.
Sanral spokesperson Vusi Mona declined to comment saying the ASA had not sent Sanral the ruling.