Home
 » ISP News » 
Sponsored

ASA UK Bans Unlimited Claim in Virgin Media Broadband Ad After Sky Moan

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013 (7:48 am) - Score 840

The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has, following two complaints by rival Sky Broadband (BSkyB), told cable operator Virgin Media not to “misleadingly” claim that their service was “unlimited” and with “no caps” if they also imposed restrictions (e.g. Traffic Management) that were “more than moderate“.

The surprise decision, which could cause other so-called “unlimited” ISPs to adjust their promotions, appears to mark one of the first uses of the ASA’s new rules. The measures, which were introduced a year ago (here), require that terminology like “unlimited” only be used if the customer incurs no additional charge or suspension of service as a consequence of exceeding a usage threshold associated with a Fair Usage Policy, Traffic Management or similar.

Crucially the ASA also expects any limitations that affect the speed or usage of a service to be “moderate” and clearly explained in any adverts. But until now the definition of “moderate” has remained somewhat vague, although apparently Virgin Media’s claim (on their website) to offer “Unlimited downloads Download and browse as much as you like with no caps and no hidden charges” goes over a red line.

ASA Assessment (Complaint Ref: A12-213114)

We noted the high speed nature of Virgin Media’s service and the emphasis of the ad on the performance and potential maximum speed and considered that the advertised service was likely to appeal to, amongst others, those consumers who wished to carry out bandwidth intensive activities, such as linking multiple devices to their connection. In that context we considered that the restriction of reducing users’ download speeds by 50% was not moderate and that any reference to it was likely to contradict, rather than clarify, the claims that the service was “unlimited”. We therefore concluded that the claim “unlimited” was misleading.

We [also] concluded that the claim “Unlimited downloads Download and browse as much as you like with no caps and no hidden charges” misleadingly implied that there were no provider-imposed restrictions on a customer’s ability to download data.

Virgin Media failed to argue its point that the average consumer’s expectation of their “unlimited” service was that they could “download as much as they liked, without incurring an additional charge or having their service suspended if they exceeded any usage threshold“. The provider also believed that 97.7% of their customers would not be affected by Traffic Management.

As a result the ASA has banned their promotion and told Virgin Media to ensure that, in future, it will only be able to make such a claim if the restrictions imposed are “moderate” or non-existent. Meanwhile Virgin Media has adjusted its 50% throttle to 40%, which is apparently enough to satisfy the ASA.

Leave a Comment
5 Responses
  1. DanielM says:

    Where do they get these figures from? Outta there arse?

    Reminds me of when t-mobile changed there limit to 500MB and claimed most of there users didnt use more. Yet probably most of there customer base complained and they did a u-turn, months later they came out with the full monty lol.

  2. David says:

    omg the horror and a dickish move by Sky themselves. Even if you get throttled on the 100/120mb tier, you most likely to still have better speeds than BT’s FTTC but only if you can get the full line sync speed of BT.

  3. FibreFred says:

    “The provider also believed that 97.7% of their customers would not be affected by Traffic Management.”

    – Virgin followed this up by saying they also believe in the Easter Bunny.

  4. SomeDude says:

    40-50% reduction? Maybe that’s true of their higher speed connections, have a look at the lower speed connections, we get a whooping 75% reduction in broadband speed if we max out the connection for a period of 15 minutes or so.. (work it out, you can hit the hourly cap within 15 minutes at fullspeed, which is ridiculous if you share the connection in a household – if one person or a couple does anything bandwidth intensive for too long we all suffer for it for *5 hours no less*).

    We’ve just had our speed doubled for free(which was nice), unfortunately for us this simply means we hit our hourly cap twice as fast when we do hit it.

    I’d wager that is actually in part intended, to encourage those of us on smaller packages to upgrade to a bigger package where we supposedly won’t hit our cap so fast.

    Been with Virgin since they took over NTL, who provided us a very good and truly unlimited service(tech support was bad, but not a great deal different than the tech support i get from Virgin if i’m entirely honest). I love the speed increase we’ve steadily gained since Virgin took over the service, but in reality we spend far to much time at 25% speed as a result of the *over the top* traffic management policies.

    Were it not for the speed and reliability of the service, we’d have moved to Sky months ago..

Comments are closed.

Comments RSS Feed

Javascript must be enabled to post (most browsers do this automatically)

Privacy Notice: Please note that news comments are anonymous, which means that we do NOT require you to enter any real personal details to post a message. By clicking to submit a post you agree to storing your comment content, display name, IP, email and / or website details in our database, for as long as the post remains live.

Only the submitted name and comment will be displayed in public, while the rest will be kept private (we will never share this outside of ISPreview, regardless of whether the data is real or fake). This comment system uses submitted IP, email and website address data to spot abuse and spammers. All data is transferred via an encrypted (https secure) session.

NOTE 1: Sometimes your comment might not appear immediately due to site cache (this is cleared every few hours) or it may be caught by automated moderation / anti-spam.

NOTE 2: Comments that break our rules, spam, troll or post via known fake IP/proxy servers may be blocked or removed.
Cheapest Superfast ISPs
  • Vodafone £21.95 (*24.95)
    Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • NOW £22.00 (*32.00)
    Speed 36Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • TalkTalk £22.00 (*29.95)
    Speed 38Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Hyperoptic £22.00
    Speed 50Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Shell Energy £22.99 (*30.99)
    Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: 12 Months of Norton 360
Large Availability | View All
Cheapest Ultrafast ISPs
  • Community Fibre £20.00 (*29.50)
    Speed: 150Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: Double Speed Boost
  • Virgin Media £25.00 (*51.00)
    Speed: 108Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Vodafone £25.00 (*28.00)
    Speed: 100Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Gigaclear £29.00 (*49.00)
    Speed: 300Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Hyperoptic £29.00 (*35.00)
    Speed: 150Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
Large Availability | View All
The Top 20 Category Tags
  1. FTTP (3292)
  2. BT (2954)
  3. Building Digital UK (1865)
  4. FTTC (1860)
  5. Politics (1850)
  6. Openreach (1770)
  7. Business (1613)
  8. Mobile Broadband (1395)
  9. Statistics (1366)
  10. FTTH (1361)
  11. 4G (1206)
  12. Fibre Optic (1137)
  13. Wireless Internet (1122)
  14. Virgin Media (1111)
  15. Ofcom Regulation (1108)
  16. Vodafone (796)
  17. EE (795)
  18. TalkTalk (740)
  19. Sky Broadband (720)
  20. 5G (690)
Promotion
Helpful ISP Guides and Tips
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
Sponsored

Copyright © 1999 to Present - ISPreview.co.uk - All Rights Reserved - Terms , Privacy and Cookie Policy , Links , Website Rules , Contact