The do’s and don’ts of broadband pricing.
Do include all monthly costs in the price
Back in 2016, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and Ofcom published research they had jointly undertaken into consumers’ understanding of broadband pricing. Back then, it was common for line rental monthly costs to be presented separately and the ASA often received complaints from consumers.
Many of those who took part in the research found it difficult to calculate the true cost of a contract when presented with ads where different elements – broadband, introductory offer, line rental, contract length and one-off costs – were presented separately.
The ASA established some key principles on the back of this research, which have applied ever since and advertisers should:
- show all-inclusive up-front monthly costs; including line rental
- make clear the total monthly cost that will apply both during and after any discount period, and for how long it will apply
Do the same for B2B
Following this ruling in 2017, the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) Compliance team undertook sector-wide work to ensure pricing claims in B2B broadband advertising was presented as clearly as it would be to consumers. This level playing field approach means all broadband offers should show the overall monthly cost, including line rental, as well as making clear how long offers and contracts run for, whoever the target audience is.
Don’t hide set up fees
If an offer or price is dependent on consumers paying a one-off fee, this should be made very clear. In 2020, the ASA ruled that this advertising was misleading as it didn’t make sufficiently clear that some new customers would have to pay a £199 set up fee.
Don’t forget previous prices
This ruling from 2017 demonstrates the potential pitfalls of using claims like ‘lowest’ or ‘best’ price. The ASA upheld a complaint about the claim “our best prices” because the ad didn’t make sufficiently clear that this was the best price currently available and that a lower price had very recently been offered. It told the advertiser to make the basis of its lowest price claims clear.
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