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Sky Gets UK Virgin Media Advert Banned for Misleading Bundle Comparison

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 (7:17 am) - Score 767
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A regional press advert for Virgin Media’s old cable broadband, phone and TV bundles (specifically the ‘Premiere Collection’) has been banned for being “misleading” by the Advertising Standards Authority after Sky (Sky Broadband) complained that the comparison with its rival ‘The Family Bundle’ was wrong.

In particular the promotion claimed that “Sky customers, you could save over £400 a year” by switching to Virgin Media’s rival bundle, which Sky felt “exaggerated” the potential savings. At the same time Sky also claimed that the comparison, which included components that were not part of the Sky Family Bundle and were not at the time retailed by Sky (e.g. BT Sport and the ESPN channels), was likely to mislead. The ASA agreed.

ASA Ruling (Ref: A14-271266)

1. Complaint Upheld (£400 claim)

We acknowledged Virgin Media’s intention to compare like-for-like services and understood that their view was that a combination of Sky’s Family Bundle, some further services from Sky and the addition of BT Sport most closely matched Virgin Media’s Premiere Collection in terms of the individual elements each contained.

The elements of the comparison were stated and the basis of the savings claim specified. However, we were concerned that the saving identified did not apply to a sufficient number of customers to support the claim that Sky customers could save over £400 a year. We concluded that the ad was likely to mislead, because it exaggerated the saving Sky customers could typically achieve if they were to switch to Virgin Media.

2. Complaint Upheld

We considered that the ad was likely to mislead, because it incorrectly attributed services from another provider to Sky and failed to clarify the full basis on which customers of the Virgin Media Premiere Collection package would save over those of the Sky Family Bundle.

As usual the ASA banned Virgin Media’s advert and told the operator to ensure that price comparisons did not mislead and to also make clear the nature of the provision of services used in their price comparisons.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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