Citizens Advice has criticised broadband advertisements for being misleading and confusing. The network of independent charities said that around 56% of the people in Britain were unable to compare deals and identify cheaper options when dealing with broadband ads.
The UK-based advice charity designed a study in association with ComRes – a research consultancy – and provided people with marketing material from broadband ads, asking them to compare deals and come up with contract prices. The research revealed that almost half the people were unable to make comparisons of contract deals from the ad material.
While dealing with one particular broadband ad, many people could not judge how much they would have to pay every month for its services. Only one in five British adults (22%) managed to determine the average monthly bill for that advertisement.
Commenting on the way the adverts can be construed as misleading, Citizens Advice said: "The adverts typically are advertised with a promotional period featured prominently, which can be free or significantly lower than the overall cost of the contract. Consumers are left to work out how much they will pay for the whole contract, including the period after the teaser price stops applying."
The national charity claimed that line rental costs are generally not included in the advertised headline cost, leading most people to wrongly assume that the headline cost would include all charges. The study also revealed that 75% of the British population found the information promoted through broadband adverts to be "too complicated to compare deals easily".
Speaking of the current advertising policies and its resulting conflicts with people's general well-being, Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice remarked, "Broadband providers need to make the costs of a contract clear in their advertising and the Advertising Standards Authority should also review the code of practice to make sure it works well for consumers."
Moreover, according to BBC, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) declared: "We've conducted research jointly with Ofcom on this important matter and will be publishing the outcome of that work early in the New Year."