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Half of Virgin Media broadband ads are wrong, says ASA

ISP gets up to 'up to' tricks

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Virgin Media has been taken to task by ad regulators over 10 separate adverts.

The complaints centred on three separate national press adverts, a leaflet, a TV ad and a radio advert.

BT complained that the first newspaper advert said that Virgin's fibre optic broadband is twice as fast as that of BT. BT bitched that this ignored its Infinity service.

The Advertising Standards Authority upheld this complaint. It accepted that Virgin Media had noted other services but said it should do so more prominently in future.

A second similar advert did not have its complaint upheld. The ASA said: "We considered that, in so much as that the ads compared broadband packages for domestic customers and the relative speeds they offered, it was not necessarily misleading in that context to compare cable services with equivalent ADSL services."

The ASA also received complaints about a leaflet from Virgin Media which said: "SPEEDY Broadband, TV and calls just £9.50 a month ... Fibre optic speedy broadband – It's official, Ofcom has proven our broadband is around twice as fast as BT, Sky and TalkTalk's comparable packages, even at peak times^" The ^ sign was linked to footnote text which stated "Source: Ofcom, UK Broadband speeds, May 2010. Virgin Media speeds versus major DSL providers".

The ASA upheld this complaint because it was not sufficiently clear which services were being compared.

So overall half and half for Virgin Media: complaints one and three were upheld; two was not upheld; four was upheld; five and six were not upheld; seven, nine and 10 were upheld; and eight was not upheld.

The full ruling from the ASA is here. ®

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