An online computer back-up website, www.carbonite.co.uk stated "The Advantages of Carbonite Online Backup. Unlike other file back-up software, Carbonite offers unlimited online backup storage. You can back up as much as you want with no limits on storage capacity". An additional link stated "Unlimited Online Backup".
A complaint challenged whether the "Unlimited" claim was misleading.
Carbonite Inc. did not respond to the ASA's enquiries during the investigation but subsequently stated they were unaware of it until they were notified of the final adjudication.
THIS ADJUDICATION REPLACES THAT PUBLISHED ON 1 AUGUST 2012. THE WORDING HAS CHANGED BUT THE DECISION TO UPHOLD THE COMPLAINT REMAINS
The ASA was concerned by Carbonite Inc.'s lack of response and therefore apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.7 1.7 Any unreasonable delay in responding to the ASA's enquiries will normally be considered a breach of the Code. (Unreasonable delay), but we noted their subsequent explanation.
Although unlimited amounts of data could be uploaded, we noted that if data uploads exceeded certain thresholds starting at 35GB less bandwidth would be progressively available resulting in slower back up. We noted that at 200GB or more of data upload, speeds were limited to around 100kbps compared to up to 2mbps for the first 35GB. Because it did not make the speed restriction clear, we concluded the ad was likely to mislead.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
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), 3.7 3.7 Before distributing or submitting a marketing communication for publication, marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove claims that consumers are likely to regard as objective and that are capable of objective substantiation. The ASA may regard claims as misleading in the absence of adequate substantiation. (Substantiation), 3.9 3.9 Marketing communications must state significant limitations and qualifications. Qualifications may clarify but must not contradict the claims that they qualify. (Qualification) and 3.11 3.11 Marketing communications must not mislead consumers by exaggerating the capability or performance of a product. (Exaggeration).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Carbonite Inc. to ensure they stated clearly and prominently the nature of the upload speed restrictions, for example, in a qualification both linked to, and positioned close to, the first reference to the "unlimited" claim.