Broadband advertising and the price you will actually pay should become clearer starting today. The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) and Ofcom worked together to improve "transparency in broadband price ads", as reported by HEXUS back in May. From today adverts for broadband services must highlight all-inclusive up-front and monthly costs – line rental can't be separated out into small print.
According to the ASA the new rules will "help stop consumers being confused or misled". In a survey taken before these rule changes it was shown that "81 per cent of participants were unable to calculate correctly the total cost of a broadband contract when asked to do so after viewing an ad". Hopefully the changes will make things much simpler for broadband customers and switchers.
To stay within the new ASA rules, broadband provider ads should:
- Show all-inclusive up-front and monthly costs; no more separating out line rental
- Give greater prominence to the contract length and any post-discount pricing, and
- Combine all compulsory up-front costs (such as delivery fees, activation fees and installation fees) in one total and give that greater prominence too.
"Broadband is fundamental to our everyday lives," wrote ASA Chief Executive Guy Parker in an opinion piece. Parker says that now the ASA has tackled pricing transparency it is going to move on to look at the advertising of broadband speeds. Research has already been done regarding broadband provider speed claims and the ASA will announce its next steps later this autumn. The end goal is for more responsible advertising to help consumers make an informed choice in this competitive market.