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Be Un Limited held to task over unlimited claims
Wednesday 05 June 2013 10:21:51 by Andrew Ferguson

The ASA has ruled against Be Unlimited with regards to the use of unlimited in advertising and product listings with Be told to not claim their services are unlimited.



The ASA considered that the claim "unlimited" would be interpreted by readers to mean that they would be able to use the service to download and upload as much data as they wished at any time without limit or penalty.

We understood, however, that users on congested exchanges using more than 150 GB in a month would be contacted and asked to reduce their usage in peak hours or face having their service suspended; we noted two users had left BE after being contacted about the FUP and that a significant number had been warned to change their usage behaviour. We therefore considered that, although it affected only a small proportion of customers, the service was restricted for those using more than 150 GB in a month on some exchanges and was therefore not unlimited. As a result, we concluded that the claim "unlimited" was misleading.

The claim breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1, 3.3 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation) and 3.9 (Qualification).


We told BE not to claim that their broadband services were unlimited."

ASA adjudication against Be Un Limited

The issue was that on exchanges that had congestion on the back haul network Be would contact users who used over 150GB over the course of a month to get them to try and use less data. Over a period of twelve months 224 emails were sent out to people breaching the fair use policy and this is out of a customer base of 68,000 users.

This ruling is interesting as moderate restrictions were allowed on services sold as unlimited and this was only carved into a stone tablet back in 2012. This set of rules has led to the two tier system where unlimited products often have a FUP, but totally unlimited products are more in line with the public perception of unlimited. Maybe the ASA is leaning towards helping the consumer in 2013.

The Be products are still listed as unlimited, so we presume with the purchase by BSkyB and other changes that the product has changed so that they can continue to use unlimited as a key sales point on the product pages.


Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
Where does this leave teh subscribers who already think they've bought an unlimited service?

A significant change to contract terms on the part of Be? The ability for any customer to walk away without penalty?
Posted by tommy45 over 4 years ago
Is there much of the customer bases left? The name SKY was enough to start mass migration lol.
But yes it's like they miss lead or miss sold their broadband,
serves them right for kicking a loyal customer of 7 yrs off their network without prior warnings because the customer took them at their word and actually used their broadband as it was sold/advertised Unlimited,
Posted by adslmax over 4 years ago
saw on virgin media forum that virgin media still senting out emails to customers telling them to download after midnight not peak times and other one to tell them not to dowmload of no more than 250GB in a month. ASA should take notice of it because Virgin Media stated "Unlimited downloads – no caps no hidden charges

The web is bursting with exciting things to see and do, so don’t hold back. You can download as many music tracks, films, photos and files as you want without having to worry about caps or hidden charges**."
Posted by doowles over 4 years ago
Left BE internet a couple of months back, shame but times move on ;)
Posted by murrayme over 4 years ago
left BE after getting a warning phone call about usage. They phoned and asked if I had received recent emails about my usage. I had received no emails.
They asked me to do any big downloads out of peak time which I feel is an ok request and also told that I would not be disconnected that they were just asking me to help them on a congested exchange. Then went on to
say my usage would be reviewed in a month.
I'm a heavy usage house hold with 4 adults and steam and xbox gamers in the household, so I changed supplier.
Posted by rian over 4 years ago
BE is going to fall soon.
Posted by uniquename over 4 years ago
Only if the Sky falls in.
Posted by Callumpy over 4 years ago
BE used to be my favourite ISP for ADSL, but they have got to pot recently.

I have moved to BT as there is a fibre cabinet being installed on the end of my street, and there is no way I want to give any of my money to Sith Lord Murdoch.
Posted by Dixinormous over 4 years ago
Not a good time to be one of Be's acolytes / worshippers / BEings.
Posted by JNeuhoff over 4 years ago
This ruling was a step in the right direction.

The UK is full of mis-nomers, such as:

"Unlimited" = not really, beare of hidden usage caps
"fibre" = not really, it's only copper VDSL
"broadband speed" = not really, only up-to for a few lucky souls

Posted by GMAN99 over 4 years ago
""fibre" = not really, it's only copper VDSL"

The majority of it is fibre, but if you look at like that you might as well add the service that started it in the uk

"fibre" = not really, it's only coax DOCSIS

I bet if you questioned a 1000 people in the street about fibre broadband they wouldn't care what the portion that came into their home was made of as long as it performed as described

Broadband users care about speed, price, reliability, caps, traffic management etc, I don't many care about the physical medium
Posted by Dixinormous over 4 years ago
Indeed. Virgin Media invented the whole 'Fibre optic broadband' thing.

Go to say Deutsche Telekom and they actively refer to their FTTN product as VDSL, or KPN who don't mention fibre at all in their VDSL offering but call everything Internet.

Virgin have a lot to answer for in that regard, as do the ASA for letting them do it.
Posted by GMAN99 over 4 years ago
Exactly, it would be much better to just call it an internet connection and then show the speeds/usage/etc etc, physical delivery could be left to the small print

What's even more annoying is that AFAIK Virgin didn't actually change anything when they started to call it fibre broadband they just rebranded it, at least there was a physical change with FTTC.
Posted by zhango over 4 years ago
Now we are seeing house prices affected by bb speed surely it's useful to know if there is FTTC? The house you are looking to buy may not have any bb but you may want to know what is available.
Posted by GMAN99 over 4 years ago
You could still find that out as you can now, the ISP could cover how its connected (cable, adsl, vdsl etc) in the fine print.
Posted by zhango over 4 years ago
GMAN99 - but the house for sale may not have bb at all or even a phone line. Surely it's useful to know what is available in the area where someone is looking to buy? Perhaps many people will only buy where there is FTTC.
Posted by GMAN99 over 4 years ago
I'm not sure what you mean then zhango, even without a phone line you can still check using your address, it is less accurate though.
Posted by zhango over 4 years ago
I just think it's a selling point if an area has FTTC. I expect estate agents to be advertising that soon as a selling point just like they would advertise the presence of a local shop or school - both of which you could also check yourself.
Posted by Dixinormous over 4 years ago
It's not a selling point if an area has FTTC, it's a selling point if it has superfast broadband.

Be it via fibre to the neighbourhood, fibre to the premises, fibre to the anus, whatever, it's the outcome that's the selling point not the delivery method.
Posted by area51r4 over 4 years ago
I think BT should be taken to task also as there advertising bumpf is very misleading also.
Posted by area51r4 over 4 years ago
I'm on O2/BE or whatever it gets called at the time?
Been pretty happy so far till SKY came looming on the horizon like a bad storm and like many not a murdoch liker!(murdoch an anagram of something sinister?)so now looking around.
Posted by CaptainW over 4 years ago
Some people just made me laugh!

People were happy to moan at Be/o2 because they weren't getting fibre and now that they are, they moan again because it's through Sky. Get a grip people, you buy a product or you don't - end off.

BTW, has anyone moaned about their beloved o2 who sold out to Sky? Err, nope!

Rant finished :D:D:D
Posted by mitchbligh over 4 years ago
"BTW, has anyone moaned about their beloved o2 who sold out to Sky?" Err,YES!!!
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