The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has announced it will be cracking down on dodgy fixed broadband price claims... from 31 October.
Back in January, the ASA and telco regulator Ofcom published joint research which found that the current approach to presenting pricing in fixed broadband ads was "likely to confuse and mislead consumers about the cost of broadband services."
Only 23 per cent of participants in the study could correctly identify the total cost per month after the first viewing of the ad.
22 per cent of participants were still not able to identify correctly the total cost per month even after a second viewing of the ad, while 81 per cent of participants were unable to calculate correctly the total cost of a broadband contract when asked to do so.
Resulting from this, and after an extended bit of "engagement" with industry and consumer groups, ASA has decided to change the rules on broadband advertising. In order for broadband providers to be within the new rules, ASA has recommended that future broadband advertisements should:
Show all-inclusive up-front and monthly costs; no more separating out line rental; give greater prominence for the contract length and any post-discount pricing; and give greater prominence for up-front costs.
Guy Parker, chief executive of the ASA, said: “We recognise the importance of broadband services to people's lives at work and at home. The findings of our research, and other factors we took into account, showed the way prices have been presented in broadband ads is likely to confuse and mislead customers.
“This new tougher approach has been developed to make sure consumers are not misled and get the information they need to make well-informed choices. We’ll support the broadband industry as they move towards changing their approach in time for the October 31 deadline.” ®