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BT and TalkTalk ticked off over misleading broadband claims

BT and TalkTalk have been slapped on the wrist by the ASA over misleading claims made about broadband services. 

In BT’s case, the rap on the knuckles comes after a comment BT made about Sky moving O2 Broadband customers on to its network. 

As part of an ad campaign, BT sent letters to O2 customers with “SKY TO SWITCH OFF O2 BROADBAND BY APRIL 2014” printed on the envelopes. 

Sky bought O2 Broadband back in May 2013 and had always stated that it would eventually absorb O2 customers. Sky claimed that BT’s letter stunt was misleading, as it implied that Sky was going to turn customers connections off, and the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) agreed. 

Sky's the limit: BT ticked off over a cheekily-worded promotional letter sent to O2 punters
Sky’s the limit: BT ticked off over a cheekily-worded promotional letter sent to O2 punters

BT argued that the envelope also had “Time to weigh up your broadband options?” printed next to the main text and reflected information that was available on Sky’s site. The ASA, taking into account that the envelope was designed to look like a newspaper, created the impression that ‘switching off’ broadband was a new development and that it did not accurately reflect what Sky had communicated to O2 customers

Elsewhere, TalkTalk were told off for twisting the truth, only about its own service. TalkTalk Simply Broadband was advertised in print and online as “Britain’s lowest priced totally unlimited broadband.” 

While Simply Broadband is cheap, it’s not the cheapest. Over a year, both Direct Save Telecom and Tesco Broadband’s equivalent unlimited broadband deals are both cheaper by £14.10 and £10.50 respectively. 

Following a complaints raised by a member of the public BT, the ASA disputed these claims, saying that cheaper packages could be found elsewhere and that the wording of ‘totally unlimited broadband’ was confusing. 

The phrase ‘totally unlimited broadband’ is one we’ve seen used by ISPs to signify that their services are free from any kind of traffic management or peak time slowdown. Both Tesco Broadband and Direct Save Telecom slow down heavy users at peak times, whereas TalkTalk doesn’t. See which other ISPs do and don’t apply traffic management here

Despite this, the ASA upheld the complaints and ruled that TalkTalk couldn’t show the ads again in their current forms. 


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