From 1 April, CAP and BCAP’s Help Notes on broadband speed claims and the use of “unlimited” claims in telecoms advertising will come into effect. Published in September, their aim is two-fold: to help advertisers comply with UK Advertising Codes, and to protect consumers from misleading claims.

Following a comprehensive public consultation, CAP and BCAP issued the Help Notes to give clearer guidance to advertisers about the kinds of speed claims and usage claims they can make. The guidance helps industry interpret the Misleading Advertising sections of the Advertising Codes and helps the ASA Council when considering future complaints about speed and usage claims in ads.

CAP and BCAP reviewed these claims following a request by the ASA. The ASA was concerned about whether consumers could actually achieve advertised speeds and “unlimited” usage of telecommunications services.

CAP and BCAP consider that advertised maximum speeds should be based on the actual experience of an ISP’s customers. Advertisers should be able to demonstrate that the speeds claimed in their advertising can be achieved by a reasonable proportion of consumers.

As for “unlimited” claims, these are likely to mislead if telecommunications providers charge their customers or suspend their services for excessive usage, or impose immoderate traffic management, contrary to customers’ expectations of an “unlimited” service.

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