September 22, 2011

BT advert complaint upheld

by Kerry Butters

Complaints made by Virgin Media about BT’s adverts, which promised broadband speeds of up to 40Mbps, have been upheld by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA).

The ruling stated that ASA had noted Virgin’s concerns that BT appeared to promise wide availability for their Infinity service, and said that BT did not make this clear in their advertisement.

ASA said that the small print did cover the availability of the product, but this was made unclear and should have been made in the body of the ad.

They also decided that the statements “most of our customers are already seeing at least three times faster speeds” and “Join now” were likely to be misinterpreted by consumers, who would assume it was available to most, or all, customers.

Because of this, ASA found the advertisement to be misleading.

ASA believe that BT’s assertion that many reading the first statement in the ad would assume it was in reference to customers who were already using the service to be wrong.

Although BT did put something in the “legal copy” saying that the claim was referring to existing Infinity customers, ASA say this was not linked to the claim.

ASA also decided that consumers would be much more likely to be led to think that BT we talking about their overall customer base.

The regulatory body have warned BT not to go ahead and publish the ad in the future but accept that “this will make little difference.”

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