The Samsung S4 memory saga and the Advertising Standards Agency

I contacted the ASA regarding the Samsung S4 and the lack of memory with the 16gb, the changes in how memory is managed now by using internal memory only for apps and games, and the lack of the 32gb or 64gb models. This is the response.

“Dear Mr Fabiani-Laymond

Thank you for contacting us about an entry on the Samsung UK website.

You raised two points: the availability of the higher memory Galaxy S4 models and also that the ad did not clarify that not all of the 16GB would be available for customers to use.

In relation to the latter point, I’m afraid we have decided not to pursue this aspect of your complaint. We understand that it is standard industry practice for manufacturers of electronic devices to advertise their product in this way. It reflects the actual size of the product memory and in the case of the Samsung UK website, the type of content that can be incorporated is clarified. It’s always difficult to evaluate cases such as this, because each user will have differing requirements and we must look at the content of ads as a whole to ascertain whether they are likely to mislead consumers about the product’s capability. In this example, we don’t believe that to be the case.

On your first point, we put your concern about the availability of the higher memory Galaxy S4 models to Samsung. They explained that Samsung UK sells the Galaxy S4 to retailers and mobile networks, which in turn sell them to consumers. The retailers and mobile networks are able to order any version of the Galaxy S4 (e.g. 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB). However, they said to date, the only version of the Galaxy S4 ordered by the retailers and mobile networks in the UK has been the 16GB version. This is primarily due to the huge demand for the 16GB version.

They did say that consumers may be able to order the 32GB and 64GB from retailers based elsewhere in Europe, and retailers and mobile networks in the UK may order the 32GB and 64GB from Samsung UK if there is consumer demand, so they had included reference to the 32GB and 64GB versions to clarify that those models did exist. However, in order to avoid confusion, they have decided to remove reference to the 32GB and 64GB Galaxy S4 devices until a retailer or mobile network orders them. Having checked the website today, I notice that the amendment has been made.

Given Samsung’s response, we won’t take matters further this time. We would like to thank you, however, for raising your concerns with us. If you would like more information about our work, please visit http://www.asa.org.uk.”

The response is disappointing and weak in my view. All Samsung had had to do is amend their website and now everything is fine. In addition it is apparently ok to mislead consumers with memory claims as well.

Update:

I have challenged the ASA with regards to the memory claims and now am waiting for a further response.

7 thoughts on “The Samsung S4 memory saga and the Advertising Standards Agency

  1. Those 32 and 64gb models are also unavailable in the rest of Europe. I only found one retailer in Australia that sells the 64gb version.

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  2. This seems like a load of crap, didn’t Samsung make a bigger device but now wants to amend that it even exists now people can not even order them. I thought the company was about making money ,I guess not!

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  3. Heads up, they have not taken out their 32/64 gb site marketting. Click http://www.samsung.com/global/microsite/galaxys4/ and go to specifications at the top. Even (correctly) amending the site is a win, since then we can publicise comparisons between the 32/64 GB HTC One, and the incredibly limited 9GB of free space S4.

    I’m seriously considering the One if no news of the S4 comes up.

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