NTL has been found guilty of misleading customers over the availability of its unmetered internet service.
Nearly 170 customers have complained to UK advertising watchdog the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about NTL's advertising for the service, which promised "no more waiting", after many were left unable to receive it.
NTL began advertising its ntlworld unmetered internet service when it launched on 17 April. The ads claimed: "No more waiting... everybody can get on the internet.. day or night, thanks to ntlworld." But many customers complained that the campaign was misleading as they were unable to sign up immediately and were not warned about delays.
The ASA, which launched its investigation on 29 June, has received 168 complaints against NTL. The telco did withdraw its advertising in June, but many customers told vnunet.com in July that they still received direct mailing about the service.
According to the ASA, NTL contacted customers as soon as it realised the full scale of the problem and pulled the advertising. However, the watchdog considered that the advertisers had "clearly underestimated the likely demand for the service".
"The Authority understood that some customers had waited several months and still not received the CDRom [needed to access the service]. It was extremely concerned that the advertisers had continued to advertise the 'free service' with the full knowledge that they could not satisfy demand," the ASA stated in its monthly report.
A spokeswoman for the ASA said the watchdog has asked NTL not to re-advertise ntlworld until the company can guarantee that it can supply a service.
NTL said it would not comment until later today on the ASA's finding, but did confirm that advertising for the ntlworld service has not restarted. A spokeswoman for NTL said the company is "delighted" that more than quarter of a million users are already using the service and that the queue for the service had been reduced.
"We have over quarter of a million users, who have an average usage time much higher than we expected online. We expect to have more than two million users across all NTL platforms by the middle of next year," said the spokeswoman.
The ASA has also upheld one complaint against ISP Appleonline.net and two complaints against ISP Plusnet for misleading advertisements for free access services.
Kicking Palantir off of AWS is among their demands, too
Rafaela Vasquez was watching The Voice at the time of the crash, new evidence shows
PUBG price slashed on Steam after selling more than 50 million copies - as daily player numbers plunge
Use the same password for every website? It might be time to change them all