TalkTalk admonished by the ASA for misleading ads

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After investigating the complaints brought forward by BT and another complainant, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has issued a gentle warning to TalkTalk to stop publishing misleading ads with claims to offer Britain’s cheapest unlimited broadband.

BT and another complainant filed a complaint with the watchdog ASA that TalkTalk’s recent advertising campaigns promote misinformation which claims that its services offer “the UK’s lowest priced, totally unlimited broadband.” The campaigns in question include a mailout, a press advertisement and a website promotion material.

ASA favoured BT and ruled that TalkTalk’s claims that it offers the cheapest broadband in the country are false and the company has not given proof to such a claim. ASA has also found that the price comparisons made by TalkTalk in its ad campaign were inaccurate leading to the conclusion that the company is misleading its customers.

ASA’s ruling on the matter states that TalkTalk’s ads would make most customers believe that the company offers the cheapest broadband service in the UK when the ISP’s standard and promotional prices were considered. And, as this was not the case, ASA concludes that TalkTalk is misleading customers.

The ASA has asked TalkTalk to stop using the aforementioned ads in their campaigns in future and also to mention accurate pricing information in its ads. Apparently, TalkTalk’s prices are not the cheapest as it is comparatively higher by £14.10 and £10.50 to Direct Save Telecom and Tesco Broadband plans respectively.

TalkTalk responded that it is committed to consistently offer customers best prices for mobile, broadband and home phone services and that those who have subscribed to its services are making “significant savings” when compared to those who use a different service.

The company noted that the ASA’s comment on inaccurate price comparisons is “prominent” and that it will look forward to continue offering lowest prices in Britain.

Notably, BT which has complained about TalkTalk’s ad campaigns has now received a notice from the ASA for a direct mailer in which it states that SKY will switch off O2 customers by April 2014.