BT forced to take down three ads for misleading broadband claims

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Rival Virgin claimed three ads from April this year were misleading potential customers about overall broadband speeds

BT has been forced by the Advertising Standards Authority to remove three of its BT Infinity adverts following claims they misled customers about available broadband speeds.

Virgin Media had made complaints about three separate television, national press and website adverts seen in April this year. Each advert claimed the 52Mb speeds on offer were faster than similar products available from Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin.

The online advertisement, for example, was accompanied by text which read: “BT Infinity now offers up to 52Mb; the fastest fibre speeds as standard BT Infinity fibre broadband has just got faster. We’ve upgraded BT Infinity 1 to speeds of up to 52Mb – that’s up to 14Mb faster than before and quicker than both Sky and TalkTalk”.

Virgin challenged whether the ads misled customers by being unclear they were referencing comparisons with major rivals Sky, Virgin and TalkTalk. It argued customers would believe BT was referencing the entire broadband market. The internet provider claimed the phrases and footnotes used in the ads made the comparisons clear.

However, the ASA ruled such explanations were not clear enough. The regulator said: “However, we understood that there were other providers on the market whose cheapest (or only) service options advertised faster maximum speeds than 52 Mbps, in some cases significantly so.

“We therefore considered that, given the likely consumer interpretation of the claim, “fastest fibre speeds as standard” had not been adequately substantiated. In light of the above factors, we concluded that the ads were misleading and had breached the Codes”.

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