Sky Broadband has successfully convinced the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to ban a recent TalkTalk press advert, which made the misleading claim of offering “Britain’s Best Deals on totally unlimited broadband packages".
The advert contained a comparison with BT's cheapest options as a way of promoting its own “totally unlimited broadband” package - citing a reduction in price from £3.50 per month to being "FREE for 12 months. £16.70 monthly line rental applies".
It added the comparison to BT's rival deal was based on an 18-month contract, but Sky said the claim was misleading, pointing out that its own 12-month minimum contract package would have offered better value.
According to the ASA's ruling: "Sky offered its customers a 12-month minimum contract term for its totally unlimited broadband service and we understood that over 12 months, Sky were cheaper for that particular package than TalkTalk.
"We acknowledged that over 18 months, TalkTalk was cheaper than Sky for all three advertised packages and noted the ad stated that the comparison was based on an 18-month period, both in small text above the small print and within the small print itself.
The ASA acknowledged the headline claim had been qualified in the ad, but considered it was not sufficiently prominent because of its location and could be overlooked by consumers, especially in the context of an ad containing detailed pricing information.
"Consequently, we considered the qualification should have been more prominent so it could be read in conjunction with the headline claim, for example, located within the body copy where it detailed the prices for each package," the ASA added.
The regulator added that because the advert had implied that “Britain’s BEST DEALS on totally unlimited broadband packages” applied to the cost over 12 months, TalkTalk could not have been the cheapest of all those advertised.
The ASA subsequently told TalkTalk that future price comparisons would need to make contract periods "sufficiently clear".