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The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned an advert from Sky Broadband that claimed the provider offered the “best customer service” on the market, after Virgin Media complained it was misleading to customers.

The advert appeared in the regional press and online, with Virgin's first complaint filed in May 2015, after Sky claimed its Broadband and Talk services were the “Best for combined overall customer service” compared to BT, Virgin Media and TalkTalk.

A second complaint noted an almost identical advert published in July 2015, with both adverts referencing Ofcom’s Customer Service Report from December 2014.

The report had given Sky a rating of 79% for customer satisfaction in its landline services and 75% for broadband. In contrast, Virgin scored 72% and 76% respectively.

In its investigation into the adverts, the ASA noted Sky had arrived at its disputed claim by adding its two scores together, which meant its figure of 154% was higher than Virgin's 148%.            

It added in its report: "We understood from the Ofcom report that, where customers had contacted their provider about an issue relating to both landline and broadband, this had been included in both the separate landline and broadband metrics.

"As such, if the metrics were combined, rather than a new figure produced from the raw data, some responses would have been duplicated and the figures distorted.

"Because we understood the methodology used to combine the metrics, in both ads, was insufficiently robust and because we did not consider that the claims made sufficiently clear the basis of the comparison, especially in ad (a), we concluded that the ads were misleading.”

The ASA ruled the adverts "must not appear again in their current form" and that future adverts should not contain any claim of Sky having the best combined customer service unless the methodology used was "sufficiently robust".

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