The Sky website www.sky.com, seen in October 2015, included a web page headed “Best Price Guarantee” and further text stated “We promise our Sky Sports customers with Sky Broadband Unlimited the best monthly price for unlimited broadband and BT Sport. That’s including line rental too … Great news - if you are a Sky Sports customer with Sky Broadband Unlimited, you can get today's lowest combined monthly price for unlimited broadband and BT Sport when you keep your broadband for the next 2 years … How does it work? We’ve got an exclusive offer on Sky Broadband Unlimited and Talk that you can combine with a separate subscription to BT Sport to guarantee today's best overall monthly price. So if you’d like to watch BT Sport on Sky, there’s no need to switch your broadband”. Smaller print below stated “New 24 month minimum term for Sky Broadband Unlimited, Sky Pay As You Talk and Sky Line Rental. Sky Network areas only. Lowest price guarantee based on today's publicly advertised initial and ongoing monthly prices for new customers calculated over 24 months (excludes annual line rental and unknown re-contracting offers that may be available after minimum term). Not available online. Separate BT Sport subscription required from BT. View full terms and conditions [hyperlink]”.
BT challenged whether the Best Price Guarantee was misleading, because customers were required to sign up for 24 months and Sky were therefore unable to take into account re-contracting offers that might be offered by competitors after an initial 12-month contract.
Sky UK Ltd said the best price guarantee, offered existing Sky Sports customers with Sky Broadband Unlimited, the lowest combined monthly price for unlimited broadband, line rental and BT Sport. The offer was based on the initial and ongoing publically advertised prices of competitors, as published on the day customers took up the offer. The offer was conditional on a new two-year minimum term for Sky Broadband Unlimited, Sky Talk and Sky line rental. Their agency monitored competitor prices daily, and Sky then adjusted the offer as necessary to ensure the “best price guarantee” claim was accurate. They provided an illustrative example. They said the ad expressly targeted Sky Sports customers with Sky Broadband Unlimited, and made clear what the price guarantee related to. They believed the ad made sufficiently clear the price promise was based on competitor prices publically advertised on the day the customer took up the offer by stating this in the body copy. They believed consumers would understand that a reference to “today’s prices” would exclude unknown re-contracting offers, and they had also included this in the smaller text underneath. The minimum term of two years was also stated in both the body copy and the smaller print underneath, along with the fact the customer would need to purchase BT Sport separately from BT. They believed that it would therefore be clear to consumers that by taking up the offer they might miss out on unknown re-contracting offers that might be available to them in a year’s time had they not taken the offer. They said that the offer was no longer available.
The ASA considered that consumers would understand from the claim “Best price Guarantee” and body copy text underneath that for Sky customers with Sky Sports and Sky Broadband Unlimited, Sky were offering a price guarantee on unlimited broadband (including line rental) in combination with a BT Sport subscription (which would need to be purchased directly from BT). The ad made clear that the offer was based on prices on the day they took up the offer, and that as a condition of taking up the offer there was a new minimum contract term of two years. We considered that consumers would understand that for a price guarantee based on current published prices it was not possible to take into account unknown future re-contracting offers, and that was something they would therefore need to consider when deciding whether to take up the offer. The smaller print underneath also made this clear by stating “excludes … unknown re-contracting offers that may be available after minimum term”. We did not consider that the fact a two-year minimum term applied and that Sky were therefore unable to take into account competitor’s future re-contracting offers rendered the offer inherently misleading, providing that was made clear to consumers. Because the ad made the conditions of the offer sufficiently clear we concluded that it was not misleading.
We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
Marketing communications must state significant limitations and qualifications. Qualifications may clarify but must not contradict the claims that they qualify.
Marketing communications that include a comparison with an identifiable competitor must not mislead, or be likely to mislead, the consumer about either the advertised product or the competing product.
(Comparisons with identifiable competitors) and
Marketing communications that include a price comparison must make the basis of the comparison clear.
CAP has published a Help Note on Retailers' Price Comparisons and a Help Note on Lowest Price Claims and Price Promises. and 3.40 3.40 Price comparisons must not mislead by falsely claiming a price advantage. Comparisons with a recommended retail prices (RRPs) are likely to mislead if the RRP differs significantly from the price at which the product or service is generally sold. (Price comparisons), but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.