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Advertising Standards ASA

Tougher rules on advertising fixed broadband prices are to be introduced to prevent consumers from being misled.

A recent study by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and Ofcom found that people find it difficult to calculate the actual cost of a contract when different costs such as broadband and line rental charges are presented separately, as well as when certain figures are displayed more prominently than others.

TalkTalk has already sought to address this issue just this week by scrapping separate line rental charges and offering broadband users a combined monthly price instead.

However, the ASA is now placing the onus on the entire industry to be more transparent when providers are advertising their products.

From October 31st 2016, broadband ads which include price claims must show all-inclusive up-front and monthly costs, with no separating out line rental.

Ads must also give greater prominence to the contract length and post-discount pricing, as well as up-front costs.

Guy Parker, Chief Executive of the ASA, commented: "This new tougher approach has been developed to make sure consumers are not misled and get the information they need to make well-informed choices."

In the ASA and Ofcom survey, just 23 per cent of respondents were able to correctly identify the total monthly cost after the initial viewing of an advert.

Meanwhile, 22 per cent were still unable to work out the total monthly cost even after viewing an ad for a second time.

Furthermore, some 81 per cent of participants could not correctly calculate the total cost of a broadband contract after being asked to do so.

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