ASA ban likely as misleading broadband pricing under scrutiny

Broadband providers could be hit with an advertising ban after it was found the presentation of the cost of broadband on adverts was likely to confuse and mislead consumers.

Changes in the way that fixed-broadband prices are advertised are being enforced from today, with offenders of new the rules facing an advertising ban.

The new regulations have been introduced after a report from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and Ofcom found that the presentation of the cost of broadband on adverts was misleading and confusing consumers.

According to the report, 81% of people were unable to work out the correct cost of a broadband contract after viewing an advert.

The new rules will mean that the prices shown on advertisements must show all-inclusive up-front costs, clearly show the contract length and price before any discounts, as well as making any other up-front costs such as delivery, activation or installation fees known to the customer.

ASA chief executive Guy Parker said “Our research found people are likely to be confused and mislead by the fixed broadband price claims in ads they see and we’ve responded by tightening our approach.

“Broadband is a service we all take for granted. That’s why some people can get frustrated when they sign-up to a package after seeing an ad, only to find their bills are higher than expected."

Companies like Virgin Media received complaints last February from Sky and BT Broadband which resulted in an ad featuring Usain Bolt being banned by the ASA.

“From today, we expect to see a change in how broadband providers advertise their prices. The effect should be a real positive difference in how consumers understand and engage with ads for broadband services.”

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