The Advertising Standards Authority has issued a warning to Virgin Media over adverts for its broadband and phone packages, after claims were made that they were misleading.
The complaint was brought by two customers who signed up for 12-month broadband contracts with the ISP. The problem, it seemed, was that Virgin was hiking the price in the middle of the contract, contrary to what that advertising implied.
According to IT Pro Portal, Virgin offered two deals on its website: "just £4 a month for six months then £17.50 a month plus Virgin Phone line (£16.99 a month)" and another for £25 a month for 12 months then £32 a month. Trouble is, Virgin increased the prices during contract.
Incidentally, new rules have recently been introduced that insist that companies give customers 30 days notice of price hikes, as well as offer them a chance to cancel outside of their contracts.
The ASA judgement said:
"We considered that the monthly price of a contract was likely to be material to consumers when deciding on a telecommunications package, and that they might not choose a particular package if they knew that the monthly cost could increase beyond the amounts stated in the ad, during the minimum term. Therefore, we considered that the price claim should have been immediately qualified to explain to consumers that it was not fixed throughout the minimum term, and that the contract was a variable one in which the price could rise."
While the small-print presumably pointed out that the price could be variable, the ASA says that because the caveats weren't pointed out front and centre it considers the adverts misleading. [IT Pro Portal]