Broadband speed advertising deemed misleading by MPs

A cross-party group of 50 MPs have piled into the debate on the way in which broadband providers advertise service speeds to consumers by labelling current practices as misleading.

Internet providers regularly advertise their highest possible speeds even if as few of 10 per cent of their customers will ever attain them, leading to complaints that such tactics can confuse, even if not expressly prohibited by law.

In a statement, The British Infrastructure Group called for consumer rights to be enhanced through the provision of refunds and a right to cancel should promises at sign-up not be kept. They said: “Consumers must be given the power to hold their internet service provider to account when they let them down or outright mislead them into signing a contract that makes promises that bear no resemblance to the later reality," its report said.

"BIG will therefore be campaigning for mandatory refunds for anyone who has been mis-sold a broadband contract.

"Consumers also need the power to leave contracts if they are found to have been misled."

Faced with a growing backlash, however, the Advertising Standards Authority has pledged to revisit the case. In a statement the ASA said: “Our position on broadband speed claims in ads is based on extensive work undertaken in recent years, including a full public consultation on new guidance.”

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