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Ban on BT adverts offering “free” YouView box

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has slapped down a BT advert that claimed to offer customers a “free” YouView box worth £299.

The watchdog told BT that it considered ‘that the activation fee was in effect linked to the YouView box and we concluded that the claim that the box was ‘free’ was misleading’. The ASA said that the advert would have been acceptable had another provider received money from the activation charge.

BT said the activation fee ‘applied to the BT TV service, rather than to the YouView box, and that customers did not have to take the YouView box, which was separate to the calls, broadband and TV packages that customers must take to be eligible for the ‘free’ box’.

Read Recombu Digital’s guide to YouView and BT BroadbandOne reader said the claim in press adverts that the YouView box was ‘free’ was misleading, because they did not believe that the activation fee and the TV package provided customers with significantly more functionality than they could get from a YouView box bought separately. The ASA concluded that both claims were misleading.

“We told BT not to state that customers who subscribed to any combination of their calls, broadband and TV packages would receive a ‘free’ YouView box if there was in effect an additional cost payable to BT,” the ASA said in its ruling.

Two other complaints were rejected. The verdict comes just two months after TalkTalk was also taken to task for claiming to offer a free YouView box while demanding a £50 activation fee.

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