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ASA bans 'misleading' BT and TalkTalk broadband ads

ASA bans 'misleading' BT and TalkTalk broadband ads

Adverts for BT and TalkTalk's broadband services have been banned by the industry's regulator after they were found to be misleading to customers, following complaints by other providers.

BT received criticism for a press ad for its Smart Hub wireless router that promised to deliver the "UK's most powerful Wi-Fi vs. major broadband providers", while TalkTalk was told not to show a TV ad again that claimed it was the only major provider to guarantee no mid-contract price rises.

In BT's case, a complaint was made by competitor Virgin Media, which challenged the accuracy of the ad's claims and queried if they could be substantiated.

After investigating, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that the lab tests BT had run in order to make the claim of offering the UK's best Wi-Fi performance did not take into account any potential interference they may encounter in the real world.

As a result, the regulator told BT it could not claim its routers were "the UK’s most powerful" unless it could demonstrate that they could provide a stronger signal than other major providers when subjected to other forms of non-Wi-Fi interference.

Meanwhile, TalkTalk's claim that it is "the only major provider to guarantee no mid-contract price rises across all our broadband plans" was challenged by Plusnet and a member of the public.

The ASA noted that while this claim was true when compared to BT, Sky and Virgin Media, it noted that other broadband suppliers, including Plusnet, also offered similar guarantees.

TalkTalk responded by stating these other companies did not count as 'major' providers based on their market share, but the ASA dismissed this argument.

It said: "We considered consumers would not generally be aware of the market share of each broadband provider and that there were other factors which influenced whether consumers would consider a company as a 'major provider', such as brand awareness, number of customers and advertising presence."

Therefore, it too was deemed to be misleading, and so the ad was banned from appearing again in its current form.

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