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Ad watchdog fingers Telewest

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Telewest has been ticked off for not being crystal clear on the availability of its broadband, TV, and phone service.

The cableco, which is now part of NTL, ran a radio ad which bragged how "getting broadband couldn't be easier".

The commercial went on to urge listeners to get in touch "if you live in a Telewest area and you want all three (unlimited broadband, digital TV and phone) for £30 a month for a year".

Snag is, an existing Telewest phone customer contacted the cableco to find out more, but was told that although he lived in a Telewest area the firm was unable to provide broadband or digital services.

Telewest admitted it was unable to offer digital servces to all its customers and that around four per cent of its users are unable to hook up to broadband or digital TV.

Despite this admission, Telewest insisted that this anomaly was covered by the "conditions apply" catch-all bolted on to the commercial and that the ad had not misled listeners.

The ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) rejected Telewest's defence ruling that the ad "implied that all listeners living in a Telewest area would be able to take advantage of the broadband and digital services on offer, but this was not the case; the offer only applied to Telewest digital areas".

"We considered this important restriction should have been explained in the ad and that 'conditions apply' had not been adequate to cover such a significant condition to the offer," it said.

The ad watchdog decided the ad was misleading and should not be aired again without changes. ®

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