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ASA slaps Vonage over price comparison ads

Unfair to BT

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VoIP provider Vonage unfairly compared its own prices to BT's in regional newspaper adverts, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled.

The advertisement claimed that BT had increased its line rental and then showed the savings possible with Vonage's service. The ads attracted nine points of complaint from BT, eight of which were upheld by the ASA. The only item where the ASA ruled in favour of Vonage was regarding its impact on broadband fair-use policies, which the ASA decided was negligible.

The advert accurately claimed BT was increasing line rental on its Option 1 service, but then went on to compare prices with BT's Option 3 tariff. Vonage also excluded BT's Broadband Talk Anytime VoIP service in its comparisons.

Additionally, Vonage included the cost of line rental when showing BT's prices, but excluded it from its own - despite the fact the vast majority of people still have to pay for a phone line if they want broadband at all.

The ASA's ruling is here. ®

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