ASA bans misleading Vodafone broadband adverts

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BT was one of many firms to make the complaint against Vodafone to the Advertising Standards Agency 

Adverts from Vodafone about its broadband offerings have been banned after being deemed misleading in its promise over speeds and bill reduction.

The Advertising Standards Agency upheld complaints against Vodafone made by rivals such as BT – that the claims could not be substantiated.

The regulatory body said consumers would misinterpret the ads to mean that Vodafone could guarantee minimum speeds fast enough to avoid common issues such as buffering.

Vodafone said in a statement it was “disappointed” with the ASA’s ruling in a statement, and that the ASA have “misunderstood the offer”, but will amend adverts.

The adverts features British Hollywood star Martin Freeman playing an online video game which then dips out at crucial moment. His opponent advises him to “get Vodafone” and on screen texts informed viewers can claim discount if speeds fall below certain thresholds.

Vodafone’s website stated: “Our Ultimate Speed Guarantee means you get the best broadband speed available to you, or we’ll give you a discount off your monthly bill until we can get you there.”

A Vodafone spokesperson said in response to BT’s complaint to the ASA: “We note that BT is one of the complainants about this advert. Given Vodafone’s home broadband service is the fastest growing service in the UK this is not surprising, but we suggest it might be better if BT focused on fixing the underlying problems of network connectivity.

Compare the Market digital expert Mubina Pirmohamed said: “It remains a concern that broadband providers are continuing to take advantage of people’s widespread lack of understanding of the broadband market, what they are buying and how much they ought to be paying”.

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