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Sky Broadband Adverts Banned for False “Best Customer Service” Claim

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015 (9:07 am) - Score 602

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned both a regional press and website advert for the Sky Broadband and Talk services after Virgin Media complained that the promotions misleadingly claimed that Sky offered the “best customer service” of any ISP, which could not be fully substantiated.

Virgin’s first complaint reflected a press advert from May 2015, which stated that Sky Broadband and Talk were “Best for combined overall customer service” compared with BT, Virgin Media and TalkTalk. Meanwhile their second complaint noted an almost identical July 2015 claim on Sky’s own website. Both claims made reference to Ofcom’s Customer Service Report from December 2014.

Sky said that Ofcom scored them 79% for overall customer satisfaction in respect of its landline services and 75% for broadband, while Virgin Media had scored 72% and 76% respectively. Crucially the ASA noted that Sky then decided, rather oddly, to add together the two overall results for landline and broadband, resulting in Sky’s score of 154% being higher than Virgin Media’s 148%.

ASA Ruling (REF: A15-309556)

We understood from the Ofcom report that, where customers had contacted their provider about an issue relating to both landline and broadband, this had been included in both the separate landline and broadband metrics. As such, if the metrics were combined, rather than a new figure produced from the raw data, some responses would have been duplicated and the figures distorted.

Because we understood the methodology used to combine the metrics, in both ads, was insufficiently robust and because we did not consider that the claims made sufficiently clear the basis of the comparison, especially in ad (a), we concluded that the ads were misleading.”

Naturally the ASA banned the adverts and told Sky to ensure that future promotions “did not feature claims for best combined customer service unless the basis of the claim was made clear and the methodology used was sufficiently robust.”

It’s also worth remembering that Ofcom’s own report was also based off a fairly small sample size and thus only covered the biggest broadband and phone providers, which sadly ignores the many smaller ISPs that often end up being much more highly rated (Zen Internet, AAISP, Aquiss etc.).

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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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