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Watchdog Bans Sky Advert Which Claimed “Lowest-Priced” Broadband

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The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a TV advert from Sky which claimed to offer “the UK’s lowest-priced superfast broadband,” a claim not backed up by evidence.

The adverts, promoting the ISP’s January 2020 sale, included a voiceover which encouraged Britons to “save big on the UK’s lowest-priced superfast broadband, with WiFi Guarantee or money back.” However, the service was only compared only to BT’s related Complete WiFi Guarantee package and not to dozens of other internet deals on the market.

Sky contended that the “lowest price” claim was for the combination of the superfast broadband and WiFi Guarantee. They noted that “at no point in the ad was Superfast broadband referenced without also referring to the WiFi guarantee.”

The advertising watchdog disagreed, arguing that the presentation of the claim would lead viewers to believe Sky offered the lowest price for simply broadband.

The ruling stated: “We considered that the use of staggered messaging at such a pace made it difficult to follow, and the voice-over’s intonation after having stated, “The UK’s lowest price Superfast broadband” suggested a pause between the claim and the information that followed. We therefore considered that consumers would understand that “WiFi Guarantee or money back” was a feature of the product, but that Sky were separately claiming to offer the UK’s lowest-priced superfast broadband.”

The ASA banned the ad, although the January sale it was promoting has long since ended. The watchdog instructed Sky to “not misleadingly imply that they offered the UK’s lowest-priced superfast broadband if that was not the case” in the future. 

Sky’s WiFi Guarantee, which costs an extra £5 a month, guarantees customers a minimum download speed of 3Mbps in any room in their house. If speeds lag in your house, Sky will send you a new router and WiFI boosters, have an engineer visit your house and if all that fails, refund you the cost of the guarantee.

BT’s similar Complete WiFi package costs £10 a month and gives customers a Smart WiFi disc to communicate with their router and deliver strong signal to every room in their house. It can be paired with a BT Stay Fast Guarantee to guarantee speeds of 30Mbps.

BT also had an advertisement for its this guarantee banned by the ASA, for misleadingly claiming in a January 2019 promotion that “only we guarantee wi-fi in every room.”

Lauren Smith
Lauren Smith

Lauren Smith has worked as a journalist and copywriter for most of the last decade, covering technology, energy, and consumer rights, in the US and UK.

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