Ad description

Two national press ads for BT broadband:

a. The ad was headed "THE BIG BT BROADBAND SALE" and gave details of three packages available: "BT BROADBAND"; "BT INFINITY"; and "BT INFINITY + TV". Text underneath included "All packages include free BT Sport", next to the BT Sport logo. The ad included nine lines of small print including "BT Broadband ... 10GB usage limit"; "BT Infinity 1 ... 20GB usage limit"; and "BT Infinity 1 & TV ... 20GB usage limit".

b. The ad was headed "THE BIG BT BROADBAND SALE ... Our lowest ever price for BT Infinity fibre optic" and further text stated "BT INFINITY £7.50 a month ... That's £7.50 a month for the first 6 months, £15 thereafter, plus BT line £15.99 a month ... Plus you get free BT Sport which you can watch online or on the Sky Digital Satellite Platform". The ad included nine lines of small print including "20GB usage limit".


Virgin Media, who did not believe the usage limits were sufficiently prominent, challenged whether the ads were misleading.


British Telecommunications plc (BT) said they had sought Copy Advice from CAP regarding how prominent the usage limits needed to be in ads, and had been advised that was likely to be sufficient to include it in small print, provided the ad did not target those who would carry out activities, such as downloading lots of films, which required a greater limit than that offered. They said they were willing to amend the ad to include the usage limit earlier in the small print. They said that neither BT Sport online nor the BT Sport channel on BT TV counted towards a user's download usage.


Not upheld

The ASA noted the ads did not make reference to any activities, such as downloading lots of films, which were likely to require a greater download limit than that offered by the advertised packages. We also understood that watching BT Sport, either online or on BT TV would not count towards a customer's download limit. The ads did not state or imply that the download limit for the packages was unlimited, and we therefore considered consumers were likely to understand that a download limit would apply. We considered that the download limit was material information which needed to be included in the ad. Although we considered that it might have been preferable for the usage limit to have appeared earlier in the small print, we considered it was sufficient to include that information in the small print. We therefore concluded the ads were not misleading.

We investigated ads (a) and (b) under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules  3.1 3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.  and  3.3 3.3 Marketing communications must not mislead the consumer by omitting material information. They must not mislead by hiding material information or presenting it in an unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or untimely manner.
Material information is information that the consumer needs to make informed decisions in relation to a product. Whether the omission or presentation of material information is likely to mislead the consumer depends on the context, the medium and, if the medium of the marketing communication is constrained by time or space, the measures that the marketer takes to make that information available to the consumer by other means.
 (Misleading advertising) and  3.10 3.10 Qualifications must be presented clearly.
CAP has published a Help Note on Claims that Require Qualification.
 (Qualification), but did not find them in breach.


No further action necessary.

CAP Code (Edition 12)

3.1     3.10     3.3    

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