Two leading broadband providers have been reprimanded by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for the publication of misleading marketing material.
Both Plusnet and Virgin Media – which has already fallen foul of the regulator this year – have been held to account over the wording of broadband adverts published in spring 2011.
The regulator took exception to the use of the term 'conditions apply', used in a radio advert promoting Plusnet's home broadband deals.
In the ad, the firm claimed broadband was available from £6.49 per month, however the ASA ruled that Plusnet had failed to take adequate steps to explain the restrictions in place on this offer.
"We considered that references to 'from only £6.49' and 'conditions apply' went some way to alerting consumers to the fact that they might not be able to get the broadband at the advertised price," the regulator stated.
"However, we considered the fact that broadband at £6.49 every month was only available in certain geographical locations, which were designated low-cost areas, was a significant condition of the offer which should have been made clear in the ad."
As such, merely stating a 'from' price and 'conditions apply' was insufficient in this regard, the ASA stated.
Plusnet has been instructed not to repeat the advert, and to ensure future broadband providers are clearer in respect of the details.
Virgin Media attracted the attention of the regulator because of the high upstream jitter experienced by customers on its 50Mb broadband packages.
The firm claimed that its service was "best for online gaming", however the presence of a jitter was seen as being "a significant factor" affecting service performance.
As such, the ASA concluded that the overall impression given by the ad – which carried the tag 'Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger' - was misleading for gamers.
Back in the summer, Virgin Media's Stop the Broadband Con advertising campaign was muffled after the ASA ruled that the firm had also misled consumers over the download speeds they could expect.