BT has been caught fibbing to Manchester residents, after the telecoms giant wrongly claimed that its fibre optic Infinity product was already available throughout the city.
The Advertising Standards Authority ruled today that BT had misled customers with a poster ad that shouted: "MANCHESTER BUSINESSES. IT'S ARRIVED".
A businesswoman complained to the watchdog, after she was told that the faster broadband network was in fact not available for her company to hook up to in central Manchester.
She successfully challenged BT's claim that "Fibre optic broadband is here."
The small print on the ad did state that its Infinity product was "subject to availability," but that wasn't enough to convince Blighty's advertising regulator that BT was in the clear with its misleading and unsubstantiated claims.
The telco coughed to the ad cockup and said it would work closely with the CAP Copy Advice team to ensure that future ads were not misleading. BT, which said its fibre had been deployed to just under half of properties in the Manchester area, added that it would not use the same campaign again.
At the time the ad appeared, the ASA said that the complainant had been told that the service - as promoted - was unavailable in a number of postcodes in central Manchester including the address where her biz is based.
The ASA said:
While we noted the ad included the small print 'Subject to availability', we considered the claims were likely to be interpreted as suggesting BT Infinity was generally available to businesses in Manchester. Because that was not the case, we concluded that the ad breached the Code.
BT was told that the ad cannot appear again in its current form and to avoid wrongly implying a service was available in a particular area.
This ain't the first time BT has been rapped by the UK's ad watchdogfor "misleading" customers about when its broadband products would be available in their areas.
In January, the ASA upheld complaints submitted by 15 people who had griped about BT because its "availability checker" website for its Infinity and Total Broadband products, in some instances, repeatedly pushed back the dates over a long period of time.
Back then, BT said it was disappointed with that particular ruling, but made what now appears to be a feeble promise to work more closely with the ad regulator to make sure that the information it provided to customers about its fibre rollout was as clear as possible. ®