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TalkTalk told off about use of free in relation to YouView boxes
Thursday 18 April 2013 09:05:38 by Andrew Ferguson

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.

Comments

Posted by tommy45 over 4 years ago
"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." Really talk talk & did they give the customer the option to self install this set top box ?No so it isnt FREE then end of, Nice one Asa

They and must of gone to the same school as many of our top politicians did to say the least,
Posted by Spectre_01 over 4 years ago
Ohh no its freeeee apart from the one off payment of £50.
Posted by tommy45 over 4 years ago
But as said (engineer)install, LOL, is mandatory ,So is not FREE at all,It may be FREE in TT's own little world of their own but not on planet earth it isnt, they did not insist on charging £50 for a managed installation (which isn't really needed)or even if the option existed for end user to install it,asa wouldn't have issue
Posted by JttB over 4 years ago
"But as said (engineer)install, LOL, is mandatory ,"


Its not anymore, and has not been for a while

I ordered a box at the start of Feb and got it free with a 'self install'

So they were at least anticipating this, it seems.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
Asa adjudications tale a while and companies often change ahead of ruling.
Posted by JttB over 4 years ago
Ohh I know, I was in no way defending TalkTalk, it frustrated me when they bombbarded me with "FREE BOX" emails, and then wanted to charge me £50

I just had a look and I signed up initially before Christmas.

"Thank you for joining the registration list for your free YouView box self-install kit. We'll be in touch again when you can place your order for Plus TV, broadband and phone*."


So this appears to have been in the plans from before this complaint was made.

Posted by JttB over 4 years ago
Cont..

It then of course took two months for the self install plan to start, but it was always in the pipeline it would seem.

The complaint was right though and rightfully upheld, but they have been planning (and are currently still doing i presume) self install kits for quite a while.

Posted by stoatwblr over 4 years ago
I assume I was the "one" who complained, despite getting a brushoff letter from the ASA - by the time they'd investigated and responded, the manadatory installation part had been removed.

It's good to know that at least one organisation is keeping an eye on things (see recent ruling on Unlimited, et al), vs Ofcom trying to pretend this stuff doesn't exist.
Posted by pigfister over 4 years ago
nothing is free when offered by any corporation as their only goal is to bleed ppl dry & create monopolies.
Posted by leshewitt over 4 years ago
pigfister: Not how I'd put it. The goal of a corporation is to make as big a profit as they can for their shareholders - if they don't make a profit, then they go bust. It's up to other companies to compete. If you don't like TalkTalk, BT, Virgin or whatever, vote with your wallet. I agree that "free" is a load of rubbish. For example, mobile phone "free" minutes are inclusive, not free... Sadly, I've developed a healthy mistrust of any offers - "if anything seems to good to be true, it usually is", also "free is usually not free".
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