Consulting on new guidance for telecoms ads and mid-contract price rises

CAP and BCAP are consulting on guidance that would require information about mid-contract prices to be more prominently stated in telecoms ads across media, to avoid misleading consumers.  

Many contracts for mobile and broadband services include price increases (usually linked to inflation) during the term of the contract. This is permitted under statutory rules, subject to particular conditions.

Under the Advertising Codes, information about the presence or possibility of and, if known, the nature of any price rise is clearly material to consumers' decision-making and should be made sufficiently clear in advertising to avoid misleading them.

Telecoms contracts are often complex products, and there are a range of factors to consider in determining what is likely to constitute sufficiently prominent presentation of information about mid-contract price rises in ads for such services. Drawing on previous ASA casework in this area, CAP and BCAP are examining the issue in the round through a consultation process. While a change to the advertised price during the term of the contract would be material information under any circumstances, in the current climate, rises in the cost of living mean that such increases are likely to have an even greater impact on consumers.

CAP and BCAP are consulting on a set of principles that they consider are likely to help telecoms ads be more likely to comply with the Codes and less likely to mislead consumers in their presentation of information about mid-contract price increases.

The consultation is open for responses from organisations and members of the public until 5pm on Thursday 17 November. 

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