An ad on TalkTalk's Facebook page stated "TalkTalk invites you to our Hottest Half Price Event! TV, broadband, fibre and calls Half Price for 6 months, from only £7.75 a month".
The complainant challenged whether the claim "£7.75 a month" was misleading, because he understood that a charge of £15.40 a month for line rental also applied.
TalkTalk Telecom Ltd (TalkTalk) stated that they had internal guidance on the publication and prominence of line rental in all advertisements and marketing materials, but that in this instance there had been an oversight and that guidance was not followed. They said they would update the ad in question to include a prominent reference to line rental and future advertisements would be compliant.
The ASA welcomed the fact that TalkTalk were willing to amend the ad. We noted, however, that when the ad initially appeared it did not include any reference to the line rental charge which applied. We therefore considered that consumers reading the ad would believe that the complete cost of the package for the first six months would be £7.75 a month, and would then increase to £15.50 a month. Because that was not the case and an additional fee of £15.40 a month applied to the bundle, we concluded that the ad was misleading and in breach of the Code.
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), 3.17 3.17 Price statements must not mislead by omission, undue emphasis or distortion. They must relate to the product featured in the marketing communication. and 3.21 3.21 If the price of one product depends on another, marketing communications must make clear the extent of the commitment the consumer must make to obtain the advertised price. (Prices).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told TalkTalk to ensure that the line rental cost was presented clearly alongside the bundle price in future ads.