Orange advert labelled misleading over use of "unlimited"
The Advertising Standards Authority, the agency responsible for ensuring standards in advertising within the UK has upheld a complaint from T-Mobile against Orange in relation to an advert in a magazine promoting its residential broadband service.
The complaint arose from the claim by Orange that the service included "unlimited" calls to UK and certain international destinations and "unlimited" downloads, however both were subject to a fair usage policy. Orange did admit that they made an error not specifying that a fair usage policy applied in the advert as per normal practice.
Interestingly in their response, Orange confirmed that as of the end of March, 1.96% of their customers had exceeded the fair usage policy limitations of 1,000 minutes per month in phone calls and that thus far they had not reacted in any way against those customers (although they did plan to draw those customers' attention to it in the future).
On the broadband fair use policy side, they explained that there was no specific limit in use, but stated that "the level of downloads which gave rise to the possibility that a customer might be affected by the fair usage policy was 40GB in March 2007." affecting 1.09% of their unlimited broadband customers.
The ASA acknowledged that most typical users would not be affected by these limits based on the evidence Orange provided, but it nevertheless upheld the complaints on the grounds it would affect a sufficient number of users to require a footnote about the existence of a fair usage policy. It also criticised Orange for the 'error', noting that similar omissions had occurred on at least two other occasions.