ASA takes more action against Virgin Media header image

Published: 22nd Jun 2016

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a press advert for Virgin Media's bundle services.

This action was taken following a complaint from BT, which claimed the promotion misled customers by implying broadband, TV and phone calls could all be provided for £3.50 a month, when this is not the case.

The advert in question was headlined with the claim "TV, broadband and calls from £3.50 a month for six months”. However, this price only applied to TV and calls and including broadband in the package would take the cost up to £12.50.

While this information was included further down the advert, the ASA ruled that the body of the promotion contradicted rather than qualified the headline claim and therefore was ambiguous about what was actually available for £3.50.

Virgin has been told the advert must not appear again in this form and that in future all headline claims should provide clear information about the price of available services.

The same advertisment also received a complaint from Sky, which felt that wording in the body of the promotion that said “Prices start from just £3.50 a month" was misleading.

However, this was not upheld by the ASA, which ruled that this particular area of the advert was clear and not contradictory.

This is the second Virgin Media promotion that has been banned by the ASA in 2013.

Last month, it told the company it could no longer use the term 'unlimited' in its broadband adverts.

The ASA believed this phrase to be inaccurate, as Virgin Media's customers are actually subject to data thresholds and could have their download speeds reduced by as much as 50 per cent if they exceed these limits.

Virgin defended the commercial by saying that only four per cent of its consumers ever go over the data cap.

However, the ASA concluded that using the term 'unlimited' meant there was still potential for people to be misled.

Posted by Mark Wynn