ASA Adjudication on PlusNet plc
2 Tenter Street
26 January 2011
Computers and telecommunications
Number of complaints:
A poster, for PlusNet, stated "OUR BROADBAND WON'T BE BEAT [sic] ON PRICE. FIND A LOWER PRICE FOR STANDALONE [sic] BROADBAND WE'LL BEAT IT. BROADBAND ONLY £6.49* A MONTH. SEE IF YOU CAN GET £6.49 BROADBAND". The asterisk linked to small print at the bottom of the poster that stated "Broadband for £6.49 a month if you live in one of our low cost areas, £12.99 from month 4 otherwise. If we identify that there is a better price for standalone [sic] broadband in your area you will be given a 'price beat' price on-line. Visit XXX for details...".
The complainant challenged whether the ad was misleading, because the small print was illegible.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
PlusNet said the small print was point size 132 and therefore believed it was legible. They said the campaign had finished and no new ads would be appearing.
The ASA noted the point size of the small print was 132. We nevertheless understood that the complainant, who saw the poster on the back of a bus, had been unable to read it.
We noted the Code did not specify a minimum point size for small print, or other text, in posters. We considered, however, that small print should be clearly visible to a normally sighted person reading the marketing communication once from a reasonable distance and at a reasonable speed.
We noted the poster claimed "BROADBAND ONLY £6.49*". While we noted it also said "SEE IF YOU CAN GET £6.49 BROADBAND", which we considered made clear that the quoted price might not be available to all, we considered that the legibility of the small print was poor and consumers were unlikely to be able easily to read the qualifying criteria. We understood from the small print that broadband was only available at £6.49 if the customer lived in one of PlusNet's "low cost areas" and that the price was £12.99 from month four otherwise.
We considered that the poster should have made clear that the quoted price of £6.49 for broadband was not available to all. Because the small print explaining that was illegible, we concluded that the poster was misleading.
The poster breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 and 3.3 (Misleading advertising) and 3.9 and 3.10 (Qualifications).
The poster must not appear again in its current form. We told PlusNet to ensure that smallprint was legible in future.
Adjudication of the ASA Council (Non-broadcast)