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Utility Warehouse Ad Banned for Misleading Best Value Mobile Claim

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018 (7:31 am) - Score 2,522
utility warehouse uk logo

Phone, broadband ISP and UK energy provider Utility Warehouse have had a website advert for their service pulled after the Advertising Standards Authority ruled that it had misleadingly promoted itself as offering “the UK’s best value mobile“.

Utility Warehouse defended the claim on its website by saying that it should be viewed in the context of the whole web page, which set out six different value-added benefits that were integral to their mobile offering and differentiated their offers from their competitors (e.g. offering 4G at no extra cost, no in-contract price rises, lower out of bundle charges and a budget control feature etc.).

However, the ASA disagreed and noted that consumers would interpret the claim “the UK’s best value mobile” to relate to the features integral to the nature of a mobile phone service itself, such as any included minutes, texts and data.

ASA Ruling (REF: A17-403737)

We noted that one of Utility Warehouse’s competitors offered more data for the same price tariff and that another competitor offered more data as well as unlimited calls and texts for less than Utility Warehouse. We therefore considered that consumers would regard those tariffs as offering better value than the advertised tariffs.

Whilst we welcomed Utility Warehouse’s willingness to change the ad, because they did not offer more data, minutes and texts than all other UK mobile tariffs relative to the costs of the tariffs, we concluded that the claim “the UK’s best value mobile” was misleading.

As usual the ASA told UW to remove the advert and not to re-run it unless they “held evidence to demonstrate that they offered the most data, minutes and texts relative to the cost of the tariff in comparison to all other UK mobile deals.”

A quick apology from ISPreview too because we overlooked this ruling last week, due to the holiday break.

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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.
Leave a Comment
4 Responses
  1. Mike

    LOL BT/EE moaning again

  2. occasionally factual

    If you wish to know more about Utility Warehouse and its business methods, please read this from Martin Lewis (of moneysavingexpert.com and ITV fame) and the subsequent thread
    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=2473547
    and the Guardian have an interesting article too https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jul/08/get-rich-quick-utility-warehouse-energy-scheme-joanna-lumley

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