Orange rapped for 'unlimited' broadband
But ads watchdog rubber stamps 'fair use' again
Orange was cut down by advertising watchdogs today for claiming its broadband and home phone service is "unlimited" without mentioning its fair use policy.
In an adjudication over a complaint by T-Mobile, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said Orange had broken its code of practice in a magazine ad. It neglected to allude to its 40GB monthly download and 1,000 minute monthly calling rations, which Orange said was an error.
At the moment the ASA thinks it's ok to describe such services as "unlimited", even if there's a fair use cap, as long as it's in the small print.
Orange said about one per cent of broadband customers and two per cent of phone customers exceeded their quota, which the ASA agreed meant that a small print qualifier would have been good enough. It told Orange to make sure it included one in all future advertising.
Orange plans to continue to advertise its bundle as "unlimited", and said the limits do not apply when it deems that users are using it fairly. It did not explain what "fair" means.
A Downing Street petition calling for a ban on the advertising ruse clocked up almost 10,000 signatures before it closed on 10 June. A government response is expected soon. ®
For ADSL, think small
Small ADSL ISP's rock! The giants are too big to listen or care when things go wrong.
I went with a tiny outfit salled SavvyJ.co.uk They go by word of mouth. Get this--they don't have a sales website, they don't advertise and they still have to limit new customers--when I e-mailed sales at that address they said I'd have to wait a few days in the queue!!
But they called me back and they do what they say. ICUKnet and Wizards have to advertise, but they seem to do the same kind of service.
Yes, small ISPs like these will sometimes cost a couple of quid more but their techies answer the phones and they tell the truth. That's priceless in my book.
Emma, no longer worried about size:-)
My partner is also dyslexic so I understand how difficult itmight be for you. I will put up a letter template on my blog (http://blog.paladine.org.uk) sometime in the next 24 hours along with links for fiding your MP's address and also the address of the Parliamentary Ombudsman.
You should contact your MP in the first instance and if you are unhappy with the result you then take it to the Parliamentary Ombudsman.
As for unfair terms in contracts, I do recall reading something about ISPs being exempt for some stupid reason. You can find the information on Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts on the DTI's webpage.
It should be a fairly open and shut case against the ASA though, because clearly the packages being offered by the ISPs are not unlimited, they all (yes every ISP in the UK offering ADSL Max products) have incredibly restrictive FUPs it is impossible to argue from a logical standpoint that these products are unlimited. We just need to raise enough hell about it to get the ASA to pull their fingers out of their asses.
minutes in a month
According to Google, 1 month = 43,829.0639 minutes.
or in other words, 'unlimited' means just over 2% of what would really be unlimited.