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ASA publishes adjudication on Bulldog case
Wednesday 02 March 2005 12:33:00 by Andrew Ferguson

The ASA has published its decision on its investigation into a complaint made about the advertising campaign that Bulldog was running in the summer of 2004. The full adjudication can be found here.

Three complaints were made, but only in one instance was the complaint upheld. The challenged statements were:

  1. "the ultimate broadband experience"
  2. "the peak of speed"
  3. "makes other broadband services look like dial-up".

Only the first of these was upheld, on the basis that at the time customer service standards had slipped. The ASA noted:

"The Authority noted, at the time the advertisement appeared, the advertisers offered the fastest home broadband service and had won the "Best Consumer Broadband ISP 2004" from ISPA. It also noted, however, the standard of their customer service had suffered due to a rapid increase in their customer base which had caused problems with their IPStream capacity. Although it acknowledged that Bulldog 4 customers were unaffected by the IPStream problems because their service was based on the advertisers'' Local Loop Unbundled (LLU) network, the Authority noted, from web forum discussion threads, some Bulldog 4 customers had had difficulty obtaining help from customer services and others had also experienced significantly reduced speeds after the advertisement appeared. The Authority acknowledged the claim was likely to be seen by consumers as an expression of the advertisers'' opinion about their services, but nevertheless considered that the severe customer service difficulties that all Bulldog customers had experienced after the appearance of the online advertisement and the significantly reduced speeds some Bulldog 4 customers had experienced meant the claim that the advertisers'' service offered "the ultimate broadband experience" was likely to mislead. The Authority asked the advertisers not to promise a service standard that could not be provided in future advertisements. "

Extract from Non-broadcast Adjudication by ASA on Bulldog Communications

This ruling does mean that service providers will need to be able to back up advertising campaigns with whatever is promised. Therefore careful planning to ensure a provider can cope with an influx of new customer needs to be carried out. This is even more so, now that more service providers are venturing into the expensive field of TV advertising.

On the second issue, it was deemed that at the time of the advert Bulldog were the fastest residential broadband service available. On the final issue since the 4Mbps was roughly a similar multitude faster than a 0.5Mbps service, than that service is compared to dial up, Bulldog was justified in its claim.


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