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BT Get Sky Broadband ISP Advert Banned Over Misleading Prices Claim

Wednesday, March 21st, 2018 (9:03 am) - Score 18,062
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The Advertising Standards Authority has banned a national UK press advert for Sky Broadband after rival ISP BT complained that the promotion’s claim of offering “Unlimited Broadband At Our Best Prices” was “misleading,” not least because they’d recently offered the same package for less.

In response Sky said that the prices offered were the “best prices” for the products advertised and they believed the ad made clear that the “best prices” offer was based on certain conditions, such as the customer taking up Sky TV.

Sky also highlighted how they did not say the prices offered were their “best ever prices” (although they did do something similar a month earlier, before a price rise) as they did not intend to make a comparison against previous prices offered by Sky. The ASA took a different view.

ASA Ruling (REF: A17-404590)

The ASA noted that the ad did not clarify the basis of the claim “our best prices”. In the absence of such information, we considered that consumers would understand the claim “our best prices” to mean that the advertised broadband packages were at a lower price than they had been for a reasonable amount of time prior to the offer being available.

However, we understood that the basis for the lowest price claim was that the packages were cheaper when purchased with TV than when they were purchased alone. We noted that in the previous month Sky had offered the same broadband products at lower prices.

Therefore, while we acknowledged that the prices offered were their best prices for the relevant products at the time the ad appeared, because the ad suggested that the packages were at a lower price than they had been recently, but in the previous month Sky had offered the relevant broadband product alone at lower prices, we concluded the “our best prices” claim was likely to mislead.

As usual the ASA gave Sky a quick slap on the wrist and told them not to re-run the advert, at least not without making clear the basis of their lowest price claims. We tend to see a lot of tit-for-tat when it comes to ISPs shopping each other out to the advertising watchdog, so don’t be surprised if Sky similarly gets the odd BT advert pulled in the future.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he is also the founder of ISPreview since 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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11 Responses
  1. Andy Mitchell

    But it’s fine for BT to run an advert with their best ever prices and have a 30GB limit on them in the small print.
    It needs mentioning in the advert as limits on fibre are wrong on so many levels.

    • Anon

      Most isps run a fibre package with a download limit and most fibre packages still have a fair usage policy aswell, restricting your speeds particularly at peak times if you download over a certain amount a month. Its common practice, if you didn’t read the small print that’s on you 🙂

    • Colin W Butcher

      But if you want an unlimited (fair use policy applies) package they’re available, I’m on one with bt. I’m a gamer who has always downloaded large amounts of data and I think the fair use limitations are more than reasonable. Also they stop small businesses using a residential package to run servers, there are so many guilty of this.

  2. These advertisements have been scamming people 4 years and it is time that the TV checked all the ads before they are put out to the public

  3. AJW

    Pot calling the kettle black.

    BT now guarantee your speed or your money back…but you can only claim twice a year!!

  4. Robin Haywood

    All this nonsense would be avoided if ISPs were only permitted to advertise their slowest speed.This is the slowest speed that anyone will get at any time of day,any weather,any time of year.
    Furthermore nobody may advertise anything that is technically unavailable to anyone who wants it.
    If this were applied then,suddenly,all sorts of people who BT,quite illegally for they are a USP provider,would have entirely acceptable minutes 6gb,or is it Mb,I forget.
    Nobody needs to download films in six different rooms of the house,at the same time,for this is facile and a waste of resources.
    But we do all,everyone of us,need reliable communication speeds.
    Government could arrange this in minutes if they were not obsessed with the ruinous efforts to implement the marginal majority view in a non binding and,frankly,questionably legal plebiscite.
    R

    • FibreFred

      “This is the slowest speed that anyone will get at any time of day,any weather,any time of year.”

      That would be quite ridiculous.

      What does someone’s speed at the other end of the country have to do with me.

      “Furthermore nobody may advertise anything that is technically unavailable to anyone who wants it.”

      Again, a ridiculous statement.

    • chrisp

      @Robin,

      the slowest speed would be 0 as there could be many factors that could affect any particular line causing an outage that may not be local to the individuals physical connection.

      In my view, OFCOM pandering to views like yours is making things more complicated and restricting competition. For example making adverts refer to average speeds is encouraging isp’s to have slower fttc tiers so that those on slower lines are put on slower tiers to make the stats in the ads look better. Also some national ISP’s like sky will start refusing to accept orders for those on slow fttc lines. This will do nothing to get OR to make lines faster.

      If FTTP had a 2 year cost to consumer floor of (as an example to make the math easy) £40pm & OR got £20 of that then they’d have an incentive to run more fibre as they would get paid more. making fttc stupidly cheap is just not going to encourage consumers to pony up more money for a faster connection when fttc allows them to do everything they need.

    • New_Londoner

      @Chrisp
      I completely agree, all this nonsense pandering to the lowest common denominator does is create a great deal more small print that is added to advertising. I’d far rather we went back to “up to” speeds that indicated the maximum possible speed of a given service, combined with a mandatory personal estimate for the premises in question.

      The people that couldn’t comprehend “up to” are just as likely to struggle with the greater complexity of the newer system so I doubt it’s achieving anything.

  5. Bob

    Staff engineer s fitters call center staff nowbody as clue nowbody on same wavelength welcome to super slow country management a now we can not have our say on that as they’ve had no public common

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