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ASA Ban Utility Warehouse Ad for UK Cheapest Broadband Bundle Claim

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012 (7:38 am) - Score 1,829

The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a “misleadingcircular advert for the Utility Warehouse (Telecom Plus plc) ISP after it claimed to offer the “UK’s cheapest” home phone and broadband bundle. Identical claims were also made for the provider’s mobile tariffs, gas and electricity.

Suffice to say that the ASA “had not seen any evidence” that the Utility Warehouse always offered the “UK’s cheapest” tariffs and thus ruled against the promotion.

ASA Ruling (Complaint Ref: A12-186418)

The ASA noted the “UK’s cheapest” claims were intended to relate to the price promise, under which it was guaranteed that consumers would save money or receive double the difference back. We considered, however, the claims were likely to be interpreted as being lowest price claims, rather than as relating only to a price promise. We noted that if marketers claimed to always offer the lowest prices, or if prices changed so frequently the claim was likely to be inaccurate by the time it appeared, they should use a price monitoring and adjustment policy to ensure the claims could be supported.

We considered a price promise did not justify a lowest price claim in the absence of an adequate monitoring and adjustment policy and noted advertisers should be in a position to substantiate lowest price claims. We noted we had not seen any evidence that The Utility Warehouse always offered the “UK’s cheapest” tariffs and therefore concluded that the ad breached the Code.

As usual the ASA warned the operator that the ad must not appear again in its current form.

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