There are plenty of options for consumers when it comes to telecom services. In general, any ads that feature digital services or products, including computers, printers, phones or sat-nav’s, must not mislead consumers and advertisers should always hold evidence to back up any claims made about the performance of the product. All descriptions of the product should also be accurate e.g. size and dimensions.
Naturally advertisers will want to showcase why their telecoms package is the best; whether that’s because it is the cheapest on the market, or the fastest. As an example, broadband providers are often prolific advertisers who promote a variety of different packages for their broadband, line rental or TV channels. We have conducted extensive customer research to understand how consumers view these deals and whether they understand what the product will provide based on the ad. This research has influenced the advertising rules we enforce.
It’s important that advertisers show an all-inclusive monthly cost in their ads and don’t separate out the price of certain compulsory services, such as line rental when consumers sign-up for a broadband package. They also must give prominence to the contract length, any post-discount pricing, and any up-front costs such as delivery fees, installation fees etc. Up-front costs should also be combined in to one all-inclusive fee.
“Unlimited” claims are only permitted if the user incurs no additional charge or suspension of service as a consequence of exceeding any usage threshold. Any limitations imposed by the telecoms provider must be moderate and clearly explained in the ad.
Any speed claims should be based on the actual experience of users and advertisers need to be able to demonstrate on request that the speeds they advertise can be achieved by at least 10% of their customers. Any factors that are likely to cause customers to receive speeds significantly below those claimed in the ad, should be prominent and clearly stated.