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ASA publishes Carphone Warehouse Adjudication
Wednesday 19 July 2006 20:19:00 by Andrew Ferguson

The ASA has now published its adjudication over the 145 complaints it received on the TalkTalk telephone/broadband 'free broadband forever' promotion. The last few days has seen teasers in relation to the complaints and what the ASA would do, but today sees three of the four issues complained about upheld. For more detail visit the Advertising Standards Authority website.

The three complaints that were upheld were:

  1. misleading to suggest that the broadband was free when it involved an 18-month contractual commitment to the Talk3 International (T3I) calls package; a connection charge of £29.99; ongoing costs of £9.99 per month plus line rental (£20.99 in total) and a disconnection fee of £70;
  2. also misleading to claim broadband was "free forever" and
  3. not sufficiently clear from the advertising that the availability of broadband was dependent on being connected to a qualifying telephone exchange and that people not connected to such an exchange would have to pay a further £10 per month for the broadband service.

The fourth issue which was "The ASA also challenged whether it should have been made clear in the ads that a delay of around 10 weeks would apply before people would receive broadband", was not upheld, as the ASA accepted that demand for the product was causing some delays, and effort was being made to get people connected as soon as possible. We do note that for people migrating to the Talk Talk service, getting connected is not always on an 'up to 8Mbps' service, but rather using the same line speeds as their previous service.

The complaints that were upheld look like they will not result in a significant change to the TalkTalk product line up (there is to be a cheaper product option, saving £1 per month by not having free international calls). For the broadband industry as a whole it does show that marketing material needs to reviewed carefully before release to the general public. In the past the market for broadband was perhaps 'geek' oriented, and a greater degree of knowledge could be assumed, but with broadband being just another utility to many people now, the scope for people missing key parts of an advert, or not understanding the implications are greater.


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