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UK customers believe that misleading advertisements from broadband providers should bring tougher penalties, a new survey has found.

A poll carried out by ISPreview.co.uk found that 89 per cent of consumers believe that they are still being misled by broadband adverts that do not fully disclose the details of the deals contained within.

Last year, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) rolled out new legislation in a bid to clamp down on promotions that did not tell the whole story – namely those relating to broadband speeds and usage allowances.

It has resulted in many providers tailoring their adverts accordingly, with some even removing certain references to usage and speeds altogether, though nine out of ten customers still think that more can be done to boost the clarity of these promotions.

Overall, 75 per cent of customers believe that speed and performance are the main areas where they are being misled, with others including price (13 per cent), reliability (seven per cent) and support (five per cent).

In order to curb misleading advertising, the vast majority of the 846 people polled by ISPreview.co.uk said the advertising watchdog should be given more power to punish repeat offenders, with 97 per cent in favour of this.

More than half of those questioned said financial penalties are the best way to punish contravention of advertising legislation, with  a quarter in favour of a forced review of new ads and 19 per cent saying temporary external ad bans are the best way of achieving this.

However, when asked to comment on the research, a spokesperson for the ASA said the authority does not subscribe to the argument that fines are the best method.

"There is no evidence to suggest that makes for a more effective sanction or deterrent. Our preferred approach to regulation is prevention rather than cure. We work to help advertisers get their ads right," he added.

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