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Plusnet's 'Everyone's a winner' claim is a plus-sized whopper

Watchdog slaps ISP for Del Boy-like tactics

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

BT-owned ISP Plusnet misled would-be customers by boasting in a telly ad that its broadband service was available to "everyone", says a watchdog.

And the blurb wrongly gave the impression that all of its products were part of a half-price sale.

The Advertising Standards Authority ruled the Plusnet ad in question, which stated: "Everyone's a winner with the PlusNet broadband half price sale. All broadband's [sic*] half off", must not appear again in its current form.

A number of TV viewers successfully challenged the ad's claims on two points. The first related to the use of the word "everyone" and the second to the implication that the 50 per cent cut applied to all price tags across all of PlusNet's broadband packages.

Sheffield-based PlusNet, which was bought by BT in 2006 and is run as a separate business, failed to convince the ads regulator that its use of the phrase "everyone's a winner" was simply "puffery" and of its argument that people would not be misled even if they had interpreted the ad literally. Broadband connectivity in Blighty has not yet reached 100 per cent of the population, which nixes the word "everyone" in the ISP's ad.

As for the claim that "all broadband's [sic*] half off", PlusNet said it was clear that the promotion was intended solely for those customers who rented a phone line along with a broadband connection from the company.

The ISP added that a price tag at the bottom of the ad which was displayed throughout the duration of the voice-over - which stated "with £13.99 monthly line rental" - had made this explicit.

On those two points the ASA disagreed. The watchdog added: "We told PlusNet to ensure significant conditions of promotions were clear in future and that qualifications accurately reflected the availability of such promotions."

A third gripe that questioned whether the on-screen text was legible was not upheld by the watchdog.

The ASA's full decision can be viewed here. ®

* That's the ASA, in its ruling, flagging up Plusnet's "broadband's" as sic erratum scriptum, presumably in case anyone thought the clumsy grammar was the work of the watchdog.

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