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ASA criticises TalkTalk over 'free broadband' advert
Wednesday 12 December 2007 13:15:22 by Sebastien Lahtinen

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint against TalkTalk in relation to a brochure advertisement which advertised "FREE Broadband" and compared it to the costs of a BT service.

The controversy revolves around the contract length. The advertisement states that the calls, broadband and line rental package is subject to a minimum contract term of 18 months. BT complained that the claim of 'free' broadband was misleading because the pre-existing Talk3 package without broadband was only subject to a 12 month contract.

TalkTalk defended their position by setting out that they had changed the terms of the Talk3 package in early 2006 to include an 18 month contract and thus the change that applied to make broadband free was not tied to an extension of the contract term. TalkTalk had consulted the CAP Copy Advice Team on the advertisement and stated that they had not received any other complaints. The promotion in question ended after six months.

"We considered, however, that in order to describe the broadband element added to Talk 3 as "free", [TalkTalk] would have to be able to demonstrate that they had added it as an extra element to an existing product at no extra cost or burden on the consumer. Because the contractual agreement of 'Talk 3 with free broadband' was more onerous than that of its call plan only predecessor Talk 3, we considered that that package should be classed as 'new'. The broadband element was, therefore, an intrinsic element of a new package with an 18-month contract obligation."

ASA Adjudication

In its adjudication, the ASA explains that it believes TalkTalk has acted in good faith but it nevertheless found a breach of CAP Codes relating to truthfulness and free offers/trials.

Comments

Posted by andykcole over 9 years ago
If giving good service for broadband customers is bitching about words then its no wonder we have some of the worst speeds and service in the so called developed world.. stop the trivialities and get us some decent surfing.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 9 years ago
Fine them 5% profit and they might not do it again either.

...

Oh, right.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
quote" BT complained that the claim of 'free' broadband was misleading"

WTF like they would know the meaning of the word misleading.
Posted by chrysalis over 9 years ago
they all like school children bickering over each others adverts when most of them are guilty of misleading and in some cases outright lying.
Posted by corinium over 9 years ago
I think you have to be very careful about speeds quoted in other countries - the maximum is always quoted, but away from the larger towns speeds can be just as low as anywhere.
Posted by Pluto over 9 years ago
Talk Talk. The same people who gave my aunt 'Free Broadband' and then charged her £15 a month for it "because the exchange wasn't ready for free broadband" and locked her into a contract.

Talk Talk. The same people which charged my mother for a broadband connection even though she never asked for one nor even wanted one.
Posted by gavsky over 9 years ago
TalkTalk's promise of "up to 8MB" has still never materialised. My maximum download speed (day or night) is 1.6MB. And they've never responded to any of my questions/complaints about this (sent via email & snail-mail).

I don't dare try phoning them any more, so bad has my experience been with their Call Centre to date (waiting waiting waiting..... sound familiar to anyone?).

It is a pity indeed that they cannot be sued for outrageously bad customer service.
Posted by Royf over 9 years ago
BT advert says £8.95 in huge print and then in tiny writing says for 6 months , the next 12+ is 17.99 thereby tying you into an 18 month contract
for a 5 gig cap.They are all as bad , you just have to read all the small print.
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