The Advertising Standards Authority UK (ASA) has, following a complaint by BT, banned a press and website ad for TalkTalk’s new broadband YouView TV service, which was found to have wrongfully promoted the “FREE” kit as “usually/normally £299” (i.e. retail price of the box).
BT challenged that the advert was misleading because, to their knowledge, the YouView box had at the time only been available to purchase for six days when the press ad was published (11th October 2012) and seven days when the claim on their website appeared (12th October 2012).
The ASA agreed that “the product had not been available to purchase for a sufficient period of time to show that the product was normally or usually sold at £299“, which to some might seem a little overzealous.
“We considered that six/seven days was not a sufficient period of time for a “generally sold at” price to be established. We also noted that TalkTalk had not provided any evidence to show that any YouView boxes had been sold for £299 when the press ad appeared. Because we considered that the product had not been available to purchase for a sufficient period of time to show that the product was normally or usually sold at £299, we concluded that the ads were misleading.”
The ASA told TalkTalk to ensure that, in future, they did not “misleadingly imply that a product was generally sold at a particular price” if they did not have the evidence to substantiate the claim.
It’s worth pointing out that the Humax DTR-T1000 500GB YouView box can currently be purchased separately for around as low as £230 inc. VAT, although the typical price tends to hover around £250 and a few offer it at above £300. On TalkTalk’s website today the ISP still claims that its box is “normally £299“.