TalkTalk has got into trouble with the ASA after a member of the public complained over adverts promoting a free YouView box with their Plus broadband service. The issue raised was a challenge as to whether the set top box was free when there was a £50 installation fee.
TalkTalk believed the set top box was a conditional purchase and thus met the CAP guidance on using the word 'free'. The £50 installation fee in no way subsidised the cost of the YouView box (which retail for around £250) it was to pay for an engineer to attend and ensure the device was connected to the broadband connection properly.
The ASA upheld the complaint, mainly as it seems that even if people did not want the engineer install the £50 fee was still payable, meaning taking the free YouView box and the £50 fee were inextricably linked. The TalkTalk Plus TV pages now list a free self install option, which should allow them to continue the free YouView promotion.
One hint for those who are looking at connecting a set top box to their broadband connection, the mess of wiring behind most televisions is not a very good environment for an ADSL or VDSL (FTTC) modem and should be avoided where possible. Added to this can be interference issues from some models of TV, particularly plasma models. Another tip is that Ethernet connectivity beats any wireless connection for stable speeds, which are important for video streaming.