TalkTalk has again come under the watchful eye of the Advertising Standards Authority, owing to one of its advertisements, which claimed the company’s broadband service was “99.9% reliable”.
The advert, which urged members of the public to switch their service to TalkTalk, prompted three complaints from disgruntled members of the public, who asked the watchdog to investigate whether the bold claim could be substantiated.
Another complainant also drew the watchdog’s attention to the fact that TalkTalk didn’t make it clear that the offer being promoted in the ad was only available to new customers.
The ISP argued in its defence that the “99.9%” statistic pertained to its core network, rather than the end-user’s own connection, and provided the ASA with details regarding how the figure is reached, using an industry-standard measurement, but the watchdog ruled that the average member of the public could be misled.
“We considered most consumers would be interested in the reliability of their end-to-end broadband connection up to the point of their router or into their home, rather than the reliability of certain portions of the overall connection,” the ASA said.
Regarding the second complaint, TalkTalk claimed that it didn’t believe the information to be material, leading to its omission from the ad. The company noted that the information was available in the promo’s terms and conditions.
Again, the ASA ruled that the ad should have made it clear that the promotion was only available to new customers, saying, “Because the ad did not make it clear that the package was only available to new customers, we concluded it was misleading.”
The regulator ruled that the ISP’s advert should be banned in its current form.
This isn’t the first time that TalkTalk’s advertising campaigns have fallen foul of regulation.
Back in 2013, the ISP was censured by the ASA for using the phrase “best value” in relation to its broadband when compared to “triple-play” deals offered by competitors, and the carrier was slapped on the wrist by the watchdog again in 2014, for claiming that its broadband service was “Britain’s lowest priced totally unlimited broadband” when in fact two other ISP’s provided unlimited services for less money. Tut tut.