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Ads watchdog bites Virgin Media over 'con' claims

Dirty denigration

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The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld eight out of eight complaints brought by BT and Sky against rival service provider Virgin Media's 'Stop the Broadband Con' ad campaign.

Virgin's plan was to highlight that ISPs don't deliver the broadband speeds they claim to offer, a result of the infamous 'up to' caveat applied to stated maximum throughput rates.

It maintains that its cable network delivers speeds closer to the claimed maxima than its ADSL-using competitors can.

Not an unreasonable claim, that, as independent testing by Ofcom revealed back in March.

However, the ASA objected to Virgin's repeated statements that consumers are being "conned" by their broadband providers and the provider's frequent implications that other ISPs deal with consumers dishonestly.

That, the watchdog said, is a no-no, breaching advertising standards rules on the denigration of competitors.

The ASA also rapped Virgin's knuckles for what it judged to be misleading and exaggerated claims, and allegations that the service provider failed to substantiate.

You can read the substance of the BT and Sky complaints - and Virgin's attempt to justify its claims at the ASA site here. ®

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