Perceptions of mobile plan unit pricing and terms and conditions

McQuilken, Lisa, Robertson, Nichola, Polonsky, Michael, Harrison, Paul and Bednall, David 2016, Perceptions of mobile plan unit pricing and terms and conditions, Marketing intelligence and planning, vol. 34, no. 6, pp. 734-753, doi: 10.1108/MIP-08-2014-0153.

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Title Perceptions of mobile plan unit pricing and terms and conditions
Author(s) McQuilken, LisaORCID iD for McQuilken, Lisa
Robertson, NicholaORCID iD for Robertson, Nichola
Polonsky, MichaelORCID iD for Polonsky, Michael
Harrison, PaulORCID iD for Harrison, Paul
Bednall, DavidORCID iD for Bednall, David
Journal name Marketing intelligence and planning
Volume number 34
Issue number 6
Start page 734
End page 753
Total pages 20
Publisher Emerald
Place of publication Bingley, Eng.
Publication date 2016
ISSN 0263-4503
Keyword(s) consumer perceptions
informational advertising content
mobile phone plans
terms and conditions
unit pricing
Summary Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to test the efficacy of disclosing unit pricing and increasing the type size of complex terms and conditions in advertising. This is in line with recommendations made by global telecommunications regulators, including in Australia, to protect consumers in selecting mobile plans.

Design/methodology/approach: The authors employed a 2 (unit price disclosed: no, yes)×3 (type size: nine-, 12- and 15-point terms and conditions) full factorial, between-subjects experimental design using a scenario and fictional advertisements for 24-month mobile phone plans. This was complemented by 24 in-depth interviews with consumers who had recently purchased “real” plans and their assessment of these.

Findings: Extra information in the form of unit pricing has a positive influence on consumers’ value perceptions, but not on perceived confusion or risk. Presenting complex terms and conditions in larger type increases consumers’ perceived confusion and risk, but not perceived value, as consumers have difficulty understanding the complicated information presented.

Research limitations/implications:
This study focused on a single country market for one product type of mobile phones, using a limited range of mobile plans. Practical implications: Public policymakers and providers are advised to pre-test planned changes to advertising’s informational content prior to implementation to identify the efficacy of proposed changes to protect consumers. Consumers may also need to be educated to accurately interpret complex plans.

Originality/value: The study contributes to the domain of informational content in advertising as a form of consumer protection. The effect of unit pricing and larger type for terms and conditions on consumer perceptions has not been examined previously in complex product settings.
Language eng
DOI 10.1108/MIP-08-2014-0153
Field of Research 150502 Marketing Communications
1505 Marketing
Socio Economic Objective 890104 Mobile Telephone Networks and Services
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, Emerald Group Publishing
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Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Business and Law
Department of Marketing
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