BT ads banned for misleading speed claimsRegulator acts against ‘fastest fibre speeds as standard’ claim
12 October 2016
Three BT broadband ads have been banned for wrongly implying that the company offers the fastest maximum speed for the cheapest price on the market.
The TV, press and website ads all claimed that BT Infinity offered speeds of up to 52 Mbps, describing them as ‘the fastest fibre speeds as standard’.
BT said it had tried to be clear it was comparing its standard entry-level ‘up to 52 Mbps’ service with the advertised headline speeds of other major broadband providers' standard entry-level service.
But the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled the phrase ‘fastest fibre speeds as standard’ would be understood to mean BT Infinity had a faster headline speed than any other provider of entry-level or cheapest-tier fibre broadband services on the market.
The ASA found that the cheapest services from other providers on the market were advertised with faster maximum speeds.
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Honest advertising of essential service
Alex Neill, Which? managing director of home and legal services, said: ‘Broadband is now seen as an essential service, so providers need to be clear about what speeds they are offering in their promotions.
‘The ASA also need to tighten up the rules around broadband advertising as soon as possible so that more customers can be assured the speed they're offered is actually the speed they will receive.’
Claims not substantiated
The ASA said: ‘We noted that the major broadband providers against whom BT had compared its service all advertised a slower maximum speed for its cheapest option.
‘However, we understood that there were other providers on the market whose cheapest, or only, service options advertised faster maximum speeds than 52 Mbps - in some cases significantly so.
‘We therefore considered that, given the likely consumer interpretation of the claim, 'fastest fibre speeds as standard' had not been adequately substantiated. In light of the above factors, we concluded that the ads were misleading and had breached the codes.’
The ASA ruled that the ads must not appear again in the form complained about and told BT to ensure that future ads made clear the basis of the comparison ‘fastest fibre speeds as standard’.
Give us broadband speed guaranteed
Which? want advertising watchdogs to pull the plug on confusing broadband ads that promise speeds most of their customers will never get. And we believe you should be adequately compensated when you don't get the service you're paying for.
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