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ASA issues new broadband ad rules

From October, broadband providers in the UK must make sure adverts for their products are very clear about costs and contract lengths, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled.

ASA research suggests many people find it difficult to make sense of current adverts. More than 80 per cent were unable to calculate the total cost of a broadband contract when asked to do so.

In a study of how people reacted to current adverts, conducted with regulator Ofcom, only 23 per cent of participants could correctly identify the total cost per month after their first viewing. Twenty-two per cent were still not able to identify this figure after a second viewing, said the ASA.

To make sure broadband providers ensure they stay within the new rules, the ASA recommends that future ads should:
– Show all-inclusive, upfront and monthly costs, with no separating out of line rental prices
– Give greater prominence to the contract length and any post-discount pricing
– Give greater prominence to upfront costs

Commenting on the changes, ASA chief executive Guy Parker said: “We recognise the importance of broadband services to people’s lives at work and at home. The findings of our research, and other factors we took into account, showed the way prices have been presented in broadband ads is likely to confuse and mislead customers. This new tougher approach has been developed to make sure consumers are not misled and get the information they need to make well-informed choices.”

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