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ASA Upholds Freetalk Complaints

Posted: 26th Apr, 2006 By: MarkJ
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld five out of six complaints made against an advert for 'Freetalk Communications' broadband and calls service:

Vonage Ltd, British Telecommunications plc (BT), NTL and members of the public objected to a national press ad and a leaflet, for a telephone service for broadband users, called 'freetalk'.

a. The press ad was headlined "UK's CHEAPEST CALL PACKAGE FOR ALL BROADBAND USERS". Text underneath stated "unlimited local & national calls using broadband ... Save on all your home phone calls ... PURCHASE THE FREETALK PACKAGE FOR JUST £79.99 INCLUDES YOUR BROADBAND HOME PHONE ADAPTOR AND THEN CALLS* ARE FREE FOR ONE YEAR". Small print at the bottom stated "*Excluding international and mobile calls."

b. The leaflet stated "Got broadband?... get freetalk" across the top. Text underneath stated "unlimited local & national calls using broadband ... Choose the freetalk package to suit you ... ONE YEAR £79.99 then FREE Unlimited UK local & national calls includes your home phone adaptor or MONTHLY £6.99* then FREE Unlimited UK local & national calls *plus £19.99 for your broadband home phone adaptor".

1. [UPHELD] Vonage, BT and NTL objected that the name "freetalk", and other references to "free", misleadingly implied customers could call for free, because they believed calls were inclusive.

2. [UPHELD] Vonage and BT objected that the claim "unlimited ... calls" was misleading, because they believed if calls lasted more than 60 minutes there was a 2p per minute charge thereafter.

3. [UPHELD] Vonage objected that the claim "UK'S CHEAPEST CALL PACKAGE FOR ALL BROADBAND USERS" was misleading, because they believed there were cheaper packages available.

4. [UPHELD] BT and the members of the public objected that the claims "unlimited local & national calls" and "Save on all your home phone calls" were misleading, because calls to non-geographic 0845 and 0870 numbers were not included.

5. [UPHELD] BT objected that the claim "Save on all your home phone calls" was misleading, because they believed there were equivalent products that offered cheaper calls on some numbers.

6. [NOT UPHELD] The ASA challenged whether the ads made clear that the service was dependent on customers having an existing line rental agreement with a telephone provider.


The full report can be read - HERE.
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