Another week, another misleading broadband advert as TalkTalk is pinged by advertising watchdog
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) continues its policing of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and their ‘misleading’ broadband claims.
This time the ASA has rapped TalkTalk (again) over the knuckles for publishing non-verified claims in an advertising campaign.
The offending TalkTalk advert appeared in mailshots, the press, and the TalkTalk website, promoting a broadband package known as ‘Simply Broadband.’
The ASA responded after it received a complaint from BT, as well as one member of the public. They objected because the TalkTalk “Simply Broadband” advert claimed to be the cheapest deal, and they said one other ISP offered an even cheaper deal.
The ASA upheld their complaint, and also rapped TalkTalk over the knuckles about the lack of prominence given to the comparison information in the advert.
“We considered, however, that that text was not sufficiently prominent, and that in the absence of any further explanatory text, most consumers would believe that, at the time the ad appeared, TalkTalk offered the cheapest unlimited broadband package in Britain, in comparison to both their competitors’ standard and promotional prices,” said the ASA in its ruling. “Because that was not the case, we concluded that the claim was misleading.
“The ads must not appear again in their current form,” warned the ASA. “We told TalkTalk to make clear the basis of their comparisons in future, and to ensure that significant information relating to those comparisons was given sufficient prominence.”
TalkTalk accepted the ASA rebuke about making the comparison text more prominent, but made no secret of its willingness to continue to promote its low prices, compared to its rivals.
“We’re committed to making Britain better off and consistently offer our customers Britain’s best prices for TV, broadband, mobile and home phone,” a TalkTalk spokesperson said. “As such TalkTalk homes make significant savings in comparison to our competitors. We note the ASA’s comments about ensuring comparison text is prominent and look forward to continuing to provide Britain’s lowest prices.”
The ASA is locked in a constant war with ISPs about broadband claims.
The TalkTalk sanction is not the first time that the ISP has been cautioned by the advertising watchdog. But it should be noted that rivals including BT, Virgin Media and others have also received their fair share of ASA censure.
The ongoing complaints about rival ISP adverts may point to the relative strength of the UK ISP sector, where different services providers constantly test the limits of ASA guidelines in order to promote their “cheapest” or “fastest” offering against their rivals.
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