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    BT and Sky Get Virgin Media Ads Banned for Misleading Price Claims

    This is a discussion on BT and Sky Get Virgin Media Ads Banned for Misleading Price Claims within the Entertainment forums, part of the Community channel category; BT and Sky Get Virgin Media Ads Banned for Misleading Price Claims - ISPreview UK The UK Advertising Standards Authority ...

    1. #1
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      BT and Sky Get Virgin Media Ads Banned for Misleading Price Claims

      BT and Sky Get Virgin Media Ads Banned for Misleading Price Claims - ISPreview UK
      The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has once again banned several adverts for Virgin Media’s various broadband, phone and TV bundles after BT and Sky Broadband (BSkyB) complained that the operator misrepresented the pricing and potential savings of its packages.

      This week’s rulings actually stem from two separate investigations (REF: A14-270704 and A14-273731) against several of the national cable operators adverts. In the first report, BT moaned that a direct mailing advert for Virgin Media’s triple-play TV bundle was misleading because it claimed to give consumers a “special offer” with “SAVING WORTH UP TO £162” and made multiple references to costs of “£00.00” for service features like catch-up TV, BTSport and TV-on-demand; most of which were already included as standard as part of the normal monthly price.
      ASA Ruling (Ref: A14-270704):

      Whilst we noted Virgin Media’s assertion that some of the elements listed had been included in the bundle at no extra cost, we understood that some of the other elements were simply offered as standard, and therefore their cost was accounted for in the bundle price.


      In addition, whilst we noted that some of the claims stated “included”, or “included with our Premiere Collection”, we still considered that the overall impression of the “£00.00″ claims, particularly given their prominence in comparison to the explanatory text, was that the listed features of the bundle had been discounted to “£00.00″ as part of the special offer. Because that was not the case, we concluded that the price claims were misleading.
      In the second report (A14-273731), Sky Broadband and a member of the public challenged several aspects of a major TV advert (featuring the actor David Tennant) and a press advert, both of which were for Virgin Media’s Big Kahuna Bundle.

      Sky complained that the TV advert, which among other things depicted a wall mounted TV showing a football match on Sky Sports and included on-screen text stating “Sky Sports subscription required from £17/month“, was misleading because it implied that Sky Sports was included in the advertised price. Crucially the TV advert ended with David Tennant giving a conflicting statement, “Get it all for just £30 a month for the first six months,” which was enough for the ASA to ban it.

      Similarly a member of the public complained that the TV advert misleadingly implied that Virgin Phone Line Rental was included in the advertised price, which of course ending up being banned for exactly the same reason as Sky’s complaint (i.e. the cost of line rental was displayed, but the “get it all” statement at the end gave a conflicting impression).

      Finally, a press advert for the same Big Kahuna Bundle stated that “Sky customers, we could save you over £370 a year” and made mentioned of a £49.95 installation fee in the small print. Naturally Sky wasn’t too pleased and attempted to get the promotion banned by suggesting that the installation fee hadn’t been factored into Virgin’s savings claim. The ASA agreed that the ad failed to give sufficient prominence to that information and banned it.

      As usual the ASA warned Virgin Media, much as it has done oh so very many times before, to ensure that their ads were not likely to mislead consumers in future and to make sure that material information was given sufficient prominence. The operator was also told not to imply that elements of their bundles had been discounted, or offered for free, if that was not the case.
      Comment: They've all done it. Sky might have fewer complaints against them, but TalkTalk, BT, PlusNet, Sky and Virgin Media are all guilty. When is the toothless organisation which most call ASA going to actually penalise the advertisers? This is not consumer protection. The campaigns came and went. They got their new customers who were mislead. They sold their products with misleading advertising. When are ASA actually going to punish any firm for misselling their products? When are ASA actually going to turn around and demand that we, the consumers, are protected?

      How about a complete refund for ALL new customers and give them free services for the entire length of their contracts? That would make the marketing departments in all the big ISPs, call providers and paid TV suppliers sit up and pay attention to their advertising campaigns before they attempt to mislead us all.

      If I were working in a marketing department and got such a message from ASA, I'd be laughing all the way to the bank with my bonus for getting all those extra customers to join my firm. At the office would be the final cut of the next campaign with just as many lies and misleading comments/statements and I'd know that the campaign would probably run for no more than 3 or 4 weeks before being pulled.

      Sorry ASA, you are a joke.

      jrfer, gymno and KingfisherUK like this.

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      Re: BT and Sky Get Virgin Media Ads Banned for Misleading Price Claims

      Quote Originally Posted by Scubbie View Post
      Sorry ASA, you are a joke.
      Along with most (if not all) of the "so called" regulators, set up by or perpetuated by this "joke" coalition.

      It's obvious to me that there purpose is to act as a "making the right noises" buffer behind which businesses can misbehave as much as they like, secure in the knowlege, that the most they will get will be a token fine/slap on the wrist.
      gymno likes this.

    5. #3
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      Re: BT and Sky Get Virgin Media Ads Banned for Misleading Price Claims

      'Joke' isn't the word i'd use.

      Who remembers this one?
      BBC News - Twenty five Virgin Media ads found to be misleading

      Actually, on second thoughts that level of ineptitude is quite funny.

    6. #4
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      Re: BT and Sky Get Virgin Media Ads Banned for Misleading Price Claims

      I thought perhaps that I might have been a little bit too strong, but then I thought hold on... Basically they are failing in their job to ensure that advertisements are correct and safe.

      I've made a complaint in the past to them, only to be told that as the channel concerned was owned by a US company, they couldn't take any action. What??? The channel concerned is a part of the Sky EPG and broadcasts through the group of satellites that specifically target the UK and they couldn't deal with the complaint.

      Useless!

      Quote Originally Posted by jrfer View Post
      Along with most (if not all) of the "so called" regulators, set up by or perpetuated by this "joke" coalition..
      The ASA was set up in 1961, so many Governments have had the opportunity to give it some teeth, but all are too worried that businesses would stop funding their parties. I guess this means that they leave it well alone.

      The quote below is taken from Wikipedia:
      Sanctions

      ...

      Office of Fair Trading

      The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has powers to fine companies and bring legal actions against them. If the ASA has trouble with a repeat offender, it can refer the matter to the OFT under the Control of Misleading Advertisements Regulations 1988.

      Ofcom
      The ASA can also refer problematic broadcast advertisers to Ofcom. Broadcasters have ultimate responsibility for advertisements shown on their channels and are therefore directly answerable to Ofcom, their licensing authority. Ofcom has powers to fine or revoke licences. For example, following more than 1,000 complaints to the ASA about the shopping channel Auction World.tv, the ASA referred the matter to Ofcom, which found the company in breach of its licence and fined it. Auction World.tv ended up in administration and went out of business.
      Auction World.tv closed in November 2004 (launched in November 2001) and is the only example provided from the ASA's 53 year history where it has taken real action against any TV firm by passing the buck to Ofcom. It was the Daily Mirror and Watchdog who investigated it first though.

      PlusNet Fibre since Jan 2021
      Previously Sky Fibre & Sky BB since 2010.

    7. #5
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      Re: BT and Sky Get Virgin Media Ads Banned for Misleading Price Claims

      There should be some kind of table or list drawn up that exposes these inept organisations.

      I'll start:

      1) ASA - Advertising Standards Authority.
      2) TPS - Telephone Preference Service.

     

     

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