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Complaints about TalkTalk advert upheld by the ASA
Wednesday 02 March 2011 15:42:57 by John Hunt

The advertising standards agency (ASA) have banned a regional press advert by TalkTalk from re-appearing after four complaints from BT and Plusnet were all upheld against the company. The TalkTalk ad was promoting a bundled phone and broadband package which claimed it could save up to £154 over 18 months when compared with a similar option from BT.

BT challenged three points about the ad which it said were misleading whilst Plusnet challenged one point:

  1. the BT package used in the comparison was not the most similar to the advertised TalkTalk package;
  2. the comparison was based on a line rental charge higher than BT's best available price; and
  3. it failed to mention that BT currently had price promotions on both the most similar line rental and broadband and calls products.
  4. Plusnet challenged whether the claim "Unbeatable value phone and broadband" was misleading because they believed they offered a comparable and cheaper package in the region where the ad was published.

All four complaints were upheld. The ASA noted that although BT's proposed comparison package (Broadband and Evening & Weekend Calls) didn't have the same download limit as the TalkTalk package or the one they compared against (More Broadband and Calls), they felt the advert was aimed at telecom users and that users would hold more value to the inclusive evening calls.

Plusnet's argument over value was also upheld on similar grounds that users would likely be looking for a low cost telecoms package, and in this case, where Plusnet offered a lower priced phone and broadband option, this would be better value.


Posted by mike41 over 6 years ago
Well done ASA. Maybe we should rename these shysters LieLie.
Posted by otester over 6 years ago
^ CrapCrap?
Posted by c_j_ over 6 years ago
"four complaints from BT and Plusnet "

four complaints from BT, including from their sub-brand BT Sheffield, surely your honour?
Posted by russianmonkey over 6 years ago
PlusNet is a division of BT but I believe it has it's seperate headquarters.
Posted by asylum_seeker over 6 years ago
Oh the sheer hypocrisy from plusnet! I think Talktalk need to counter-sue plusnet. If you go to
Plusnet claim they are cheaper than Talktalk by around 23 notes. This is total bull! Talktalks cheapest broadband is now £3.49 which makes it CHEAPER than plusnet. Plusnet in their comparison are using talktalks old price of 6.99

Posted by Oldjim over 6 years ago
Talktalk is £3.49 is for 12 months after which the price increases to £6.99
Posted by asylum_seeker over 6 years ago
Yes and Talktalk now only have 12 month contracts instead of 18 months, so if you stayed with them for the minimum term you would not pay the full price. Also I'm pretty sure talktalk would honour the £3.49 price beyond the 12 months if you threatened to leave.
Posted by mike41 over 6 years ago
Sorry, the words 'talktalk' and 'honour' are not compatible in my book
Posted by c_j_ over 6 years ago
"PlusNet is a division of BT but I believe it has it's seperate headquarters."

Quite possibly. Does it have separate shareholders? The company operates in the interests of shareholders, not customers.

BT Retail is still the default ISP to the ill-informed, supplying an overpriced underpowered service.

Where LLU is a serious threat to BT, BT Sheffield is promoted as the ISP of choice to the value-focused customer. No mention of BT in those ads, otherwise the ill-informed might wonder why Sheffield broadband is so cheap relative to what they're paying to another division of the same company.

Posted by dennisspat over 6 years ago
BT and Plusnet are one. And its the only 'company' that has complained. Well said c_j. Identical products from both BT and Plusnet BUT BT products are more expensive. WHAT A RAW DEAL. OFCOM doesn't seem to say anything about it NOT does ASA. BT customers should complain to ofcom to get lower prices as Plusnet. OR Leave and look for another provider.
Posted by litesp33d over 6 years ago
Agree with c_j_
BT owns PlusNet. Recently, as a BT shareholder, I got promtional material about PlusNet. Not just in the same envelope but as part of the complete promtional flyer advertising loads of other BT products. Driving coach & horses through competition legislation.

BT is effectively subsidising PlusNet using its size & monopoly (still) position to crush any legitimate competition. Why is OFCOM, the OFT & competition commission allowing this? The OFT nodded through the take over of PlusNet. What is the point of introducing competition if BT buy up all the competitors?
Posted by litesp33d over 6 years ago
The issue about these £3/£6 special offers is that they only apply to LLU. So you lose control of your phone number. Don't believe me. Try porting your LLU broadband to another provider.
It can only be done by going back to BT for 12/18 months. So another win for BT. Or paying to have a brand new phone line installed £99 - £125 (another win for BT). And you would have to be pretty p**sed off to do that. Most people will not, so the LLU brigade effectively have a customer for life.
So why has OFCOM allowed that? Especially after working so hard to get the MAC system in place.
Posted by Tim67 over 6 years ago
I have a question more than a comment. Just some explanation as to why I cannot connect to the cheap Talk Talk deal.

I tried to connect to Talk Talk with their £3/£6 offer. I have a good friend who also did.

Both of us were told that our exchanges will not support this. But there was another more expensive deal we could sign up to.

I am in North London and my friend is in South West London. I fail to see how this deal is accessible by 85% of the country if it does not cover North and South West London. Can anyone explain to a layman (as Talk Talk just said it was BTs fault)?
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