Line rental costs must be clear in broadband ads
Virgin Media has been ordered to prominently include line rental costs in its broadband advertisements following yet another complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
The 18 complaints filed with the watchdog centred on a series of ads, including those starring sprinter Usain Bolt, offering broadband for as little as £5 a month.
The advertisements were criticised for not including the cost of a Virgin phone line prominently, despite the charge being compulsory.
In light of the number of complaints about the ads, they accepted that the line rental pricing information should have been presented more prominently in at least some of the ads
Virgin argued that phone line rentals were a “conditional charge” and that customers did not necessarily need to take a Virgin phone line – but if they didn’t, the prices for other products might change. Virgin said that was clear from the ads, and also in line with “standard industry practice”.
“However, in light of the number of complaints about the ads, it [Virgin] accepted that the line rental pricing information should have been presented more prominently in at least some of the ads,” the ASA ruling said.
The ASA told Virgin not to run the ads again, saying that clearly showing line rental charges prominently was “particularly important”.
“Mindful of this ruling’s impact on the industry, the ASA Chairman, on behalf of the ASA Council, granted a three-month grace period for the sector to bring their marketing communications into line with the requirements of the adjudication,” the ASA ruling said. “The period of grace ends at midnight on 4 October 2012.”
Virgin was last week reprimanded for misleading statements in other versions of ads starring Usain Bolt, and ordered not to run them again – after saying in its last round of results that the ads had boosted sales.
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