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ASA Bans Zzoomm Broadband Ad Over Misleading Savings Claim

Wednesday, Jan 10th, 2024 (12:01 am) - Score 1,200
zzoomm_yellow_van

The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has today banned a direct mailing advert for alternative full fibre network and ISP Zzoomm, which compared their 150Mbps broadband package with BT’s 35Mbps Fibre 1 service, after it was found to have contained “misleading” savings claims.

The letter, as originally received by the complainant on 5th July 2023, featured a series of savings’ claims and was headlined with the text – “Upgrade to 100% Full Fibre broadband and save over £240 a year”, before later clarifying that customers could “save £240.18 a year by switching to Zzoomm Full Fibre 150 for just £19.95 a month for 12 months compared to BT Fibre 1 at £29.99 a month for 24 months“.

However, the ASA upheld the complaint, not least because they found it misleading to compare package prices with different contract lengths. Zzoomm also “accepted that the calculations had been incorrect due to human error“, for which they apologised.

ASA Ruling Ref: A23-1206061 Zzoomm plc

The correct calculation should have been to subtract two 12-month Zzoomm contracts (£478.80) from the 24-month BT contract (£719.76), leaving a saving of £240.96. That was the amount identified in the advertiser’s response to the complaint. However, that was the total across 24 months, whereas the ad stated an amount that consumers could save per year. The saving per year according to the above calculation would be £120.48.

In addition, we noted from the small print of the ad that the offer applied a £10 discount to 12-month home broadband plans, meaning that the regular cost of their Full Fibre 150 service would have been £29.95. We noted from the ad that the offer was due to end on 31 August 2023, and Zzoomm also reserved the right to withdraw it at any point. Because there was no guarantee that consumers would be able to pay the discounted rate of £19.95 in a hypothetical second year, we considered that further undermined the claimed saving.

Because the ad claimed that consumers switching from BT’s Fibre 1 service could save over £240 a year if they signed up to Zzoomm’s Full Fibre 150 service when that was not the case, and because the ad implied that the monthly cost of £19.95 could be extrapolated over a 24-month period, when there was no evidence that consumers would be able to take advantage of that price once the 12-month offer period had ended, we concluded that the savings claims in the ad had not been substantiated and were therefore misleading.

As usual, the ASA banned the advert in its current form, while telling Zzoomm to ensure that future promotions “did not mislead consumers” and only included accurate savings figures / price comparison, which could be substantiated. We rarely see alternative networks being hauled over the coals for their adverts, but at least in this case the provider did acknowledge their mistake and apologised accordingly.

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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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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Comments
10 Responses
  1. Avatar photo RightSaidFred says:

    It really doesn’t matter that the ASA banned the adverts. By the time they’ve enforced it the damage has already been done.

    If all that is required is an after-the-fact apology, companies will always make misleading claims.

    1. Avatar photo Ben says:

      In this instance the claim seems reasonable in principle, although it was incorrect. It would’ve been better if Zzoomm had compared their 12 month contract cost with BT’s 12 month contract cost.

    2. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      @Ben, how can they compare with BT 12-month contract since BT have now gone for 24-month minimum?

      Not sure what they should have done to be honest, maybe compare the first 12 months lower price and then the higher price for the next 12 months with BT.

      Zzoomm over 24 months for 150Mb/s is £598, for 150Mb/s with BT for 24 months you are looking at £695 and that is before the increase of prices that will happen twice in that contract, plus Zzoomm is 150Mb/s both ways.

      So Zzoomm is still cheaper, it is a shame that they mucked up, but BT and others have done it a few times.

      I always work these things out myself anyway, not go by adverts.

    3. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      @Ben, Fair enough I did not know they did 12 months deals, but it is still way more expensive than Zzoomm and an upfront payment is also needed. So still better off with Zzoomm if it is available.

      The service is much better now as well, after the problem they had when a Fibre trunk went down and got sorted, the service have been very good. They do need to improve their customer service, but then BT is far worse in that respect.

  2. Avatar photo GNewton says:

    This is the same ASA who claimed that COAX or VDSL is fibre. So why should anyone take ASA serious?

    1. Avatar photo occasionally factual says:

      Given that CityFibre (and other Altnets) couldn’t prove that it wasn’t in a court of law (on the balance of probabilities i.e. 51%) then why should ASA be bothered?

    2. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      I did not think anyone did?

  3. Avatar photo Jack says:

    Considering Zzoomm flip flop between offering 12 / 24 month contract I’m not surprised the staff got confused.

    1. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      They had 24 months for a while, but I would not call it flip-flopping, as they have been doing 12 months for a while now. This offer is coming to the end, so they say, so we will see what the new offer is. Hopefully they will stay at the 12-month contract.
      I must admit the offer I have got now is not quite as good as the offer they had with 24-month contract, but I doubt I would have gone for them if they still had 24-month contract

Comments are closed

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