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Tougher approach to broadband service price claims on the way

by Mark Tyson on 4 May 2016, 09:31

Tags: Ofcom

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qac2mx

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The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has confirmed that it will be taking a tougher stance on the advertising of broadband services. From 31st October 2016 a new approach will be implemented to help avoid the possibility that broadband and associated bundle customers are being misled.

In this example BT ad I could find no explaination of the 'delta' symbol anywhere on the page

Earlier this year consumer research, undertaken with the help of Ofcom, revealed that the present approach to pricing caused confusion. With competing firms pricing their packages in different ways and these packages containing non-optional elements such as line rental, it was hard for people to predict how much money would be taken from their direct debits every month. Pricing was complicated further by introductory offers, one-off costs, and differing contract lengths.

In the Ofcom and ASA joint study over 80 per cent of participants were unable to correctly calculate the total cost of their broadband contracts. Thus the ASA has come up with a trio of recommendations for advertisers to implement so their communications stay within the rules.

From 31st October 2016, broadband adverts including pricing should:

  • Show all-inclusive up-front and monthly costs; no more separating out line rental
  • Give greater prominence for the contract length and any post-discount pricing
  • Give greater prominence for up-front costs

An example Talk Talk ad screenshot taken today

In an email to HEXUS from cable.co.uk, telecoms expert Dan Howdie claimed that the ASA recommendations don't go far enough. Howdie said that "Even including line rental in the headline price, providers can and will continue to offer broadband deals that are, say, £22.50 per month for the first six months, then £34.50 for the next twelve, have internet security that's free for a month, then £3 per month for 17 months, have unlimited anytime calls that are free for three months then £5 per month for 15 months, a £35 one-off installation fee, a £15 line connection fee, a £1.89 fee for using your debit or credit card, and £6.99 for the postage of your router". He pointed out that such 'compound pricing', as previously used by the air travel industry, was outlawed throughout the EU last year and the same principle needs to be applied to the UK's broadband service industry.



HEXUS Forums :: 17 Comments

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Still nothing about the limited ‘unlimited’ data allowances. That's the biggest brazenly misleading part of ads these days.
Honestly - this is nothing but good news - hate how they charge £2.99 broadband when the line rental is £18.99 lol - just tell us the actual overall price!
Never has been anything that is actually ‘unlimited’, because it can never be unlimited.

Taking 80Mbps fibre, going at lets say about 8MB/s, 24x7 for 30 days would give you a maximum of just under 20TB a month, definitely a finite amount.

Terms like ‘unmetered’, ‘uncapped’ or ‘unrestricted’ would be better, as they are at least a bit more accurate.
Agree about the unlimited term for ones with restrictions but it's nice to see OFCOM doing something useful for once…. oh this is the advertising standards committee, no wonder something's getting done.

Now if they can just do something about Mobile phones ‘advertising’ 99% coverage and 4G at the same time and get them to show their actual real world coverage I'd be really impressed
BobF64
Never has been anything that is actually ‘unlimited’, because it can never be unlimited.

Taking 80Mbps fibre, going at lets say about 8MB/s, 24x7 for 30 days would give you a maximum of just under 20TB a month, definitely a finite amount.

Terms like ‘unmetered’, ‘uncapped’ or ‘unrestricted’ would be better, as they are at least a bit more accurate.

Unlimited to almost everyone means “all you can eat” and I would argue, does mean unlimited. There is a difference (at least IMO) between unlimited and infinite.