ASA raps PlusNet ISP accused of using misleading bus adverts

28 January 2011


Plusnet offers broadband and home phone deals

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint against PlusNet, accusing it of using misleading adverts on buses.

The ASA ruled that the BT-owned broadband service provider had misled customers into believing that they could sign up to a broadband package for £6.49 a month.

The reality, the ASA said, was that the advertised package would cost some potential customers £12.99 a month, if they lived outside PlusNet’s low-cost area.

It went onto add that even though PlusNet warned that the headlined price was not available to everyone, it did so in small type face on the bus advertisements, which were hard to read.

Handing out its ruling the ASA said: ‘Small print should be clearly visible to a normally sighted person reading the marketing communication once from a reasonable distance and at a reasonable speed.

‘We considered that the poster should have made clear that the quoted price of £6.49 for broadband was not available to all. Because the small print explaining that was illegible, we concluded that the poster was misleading.

PlusNet was told to ensure that its smallprint on future ads were legible.

Which? responds

Ceri Stanaway, Which? broadband expert, said: 'Its very frustrating to see a great broadband offer only to discover that you can't get it because of where you live.

‘Even though the PlusNet deal is available to 80% of UK households, PlusNet should have made the restrictions clearer for the 20% of households that can't get it.

She added: ‘Clearly, more work needs to be done by broadband providers, regulators and government to address the broadband digital divide.

Cheaper broadband deals for rural areas

To learn more about broadband, take a look at our Which? guide

How to follow the latest Which? Tech news

Are you a Twitter user? Follow WhichTech on Twitter for regular tech tweets.

Prefer RSS? Don't miss a thing with the Which? tech RSS feed

For just the main headlines in newsletter form, sign-up to our weekly Which? tech email.

Apple iPad 2 3G data plans compared - find the best 3G plan for your iPad
Best Android tablets round-up - we look at the best iPad alternatives around
Best cheap laptops for under £500 - find the best laptop deals