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ASA Allows ISP Sky Broadband UK to Criticise BTs Long Bundle Contracts

Posted: 19th Jan, 2011 By: MarkJ
asa uk sky broadband and bt clashThe UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has allowed Sky Broadband (BSkyB) to continue using a regional press advert that attacks BT Retail's use of extremely long two year (24 month) contracts, which are admittedly only offered on certain "best priced" bundles of broadband internet access and other services (phone, TV etc.).

Sky's advert included an image of a goat, a headline that said, "Trip, trap, trip, trap, two-year contract, with BT", and the following text: "The Billy Goat didn’t want to be gobbled up by BT’s two-year contract deal. So he went to Sky, who offer their best prices on a one-year contract for magical Sky TV, fast broadband and calls."

BT naturally complained about the advert and highlighted how its deals were available, either separately or in bundles, on contracts of various lengths and prices. BT also claimed that Sky's advert denigrated them by implying that customers would make a mistake in using their services (i.e. would be "tripped" into a "trap"). The ASA didn't agree.

ASA Statement

"We considered Sky were entitled to point out that to obtain Sky's best price for a TV/broadband/calls package customers were required to sign up for one year whereas they needed to sign up with BT for two years for BT's best price on a TV/broadband/calls package. Because of that, and because we did not consider the ad suggested the same comparison applied to other packages or products supplied by Sky and BT, including BT's calls-only, TV or calls and broadband packages, we concluded that the ad was not misleading on this point."

The ASA also concluded that Sky's advert "did not denigrate BT" in the way that had been suggested and focused solely on the issue of contract length, as opposed to any intentional unfairness or dishonesty in BT's business practices.
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