Changes in advertising of 'unlimited' and broadband speed claims
29 September 2011
Two new Help Notes were published in September - one on broadband speed claims and the other on the use of “unlimited” claims in telecoms advertising. Their aim is two-fold; to help advertisers comply with UK Advertising Codes, and to protect consumers from misleading claims.
Following a comprehensive public consultation, CAP and BCAP have issued the Help Notes to give clearer guidance to advertisers about the kinds of usage claims and speed claims they can make. The guidance will help industry interpret the Misleading Advertising sections of the Advertising Codes and help the ASA Council when considering future complaints about speed and usage claims in ads.
CAP and BCAP reviewed the veracity of these claims following a request by the ASA. The ASA was concerned whether consumers could actually achieve advertised speeds and “unlimited” usage of telecommunications services as claimed.
If they want to use “unlimited” claims, telecommunications providers can no longer charge their customers or suspend their services for excessive usage and they must ensure that various types of traffic management do not unduly affect their customers’ use of the service.
As for broadband speed claims, CAP and BCAP consider that advertised maximum speeds should be based on the actual experience of an ISP’s customers and therefore advertisers should be able to demonstrate that the speeds claimed in their advertising can be achieved by a reasonable proportion of consumers.
The Help Note on the use of “unlimited” claims in telecommunications advertising and the Help Note on the use of speed claims in broadband advertising are available on the CAP website.
For more details of the consultation process, including CAP and BCAP’s evaluations of responses on both issues, please visit the consultation section of the CAP website.
Help Note on the use of unlimited claims in telecommunications advertising (PDF)
Help Note on the use of speed claims in broadcast advertising (PDF)