The UK's advertising standards watchdog has criticised Virgin Media and O2 for having adverts that did not make costs clear to consumers.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said on Wednesday that Virgin Media sent out a direct mailing quoting a £215 saving if users switched from Sky to Virgin Media services, without adequately explaining the savings. The ASA argued that the advert was "misleading".
"We understood that Virgin Media intended the comparison with Sky to be a general one rather than a comparison between a specific Virgin TV package and an equivalent product offered by Sky, and that they wished to promote an offer independent of that comparison," said the ASA.
"The ASA acknowledged that Virgin Media had intended the savings claim of £214.95 to be understood as a comparison between the price of their ‘Sky Switcher Offer' and their standard prices. However, we considered that was not clear and that the basis of the savings claim was ambiguous."
Virgin told V3 that it would continue to highlight its cost benefits. "We offer a fantastic choice of sport and entertainment, including Sky Sports, BT Sport and thousands of hours of movies and iconic TV shows, and will continue to advertise the great value on offer from Virgin Media in line with the ASA's adjudication," it said.
The ad will not appear in its current form again, V3 asked Sky for its response but had received no reply at the time of publication. The ASA has also criticised O2 for not making a cap on roaming data clear in an in-flight EasyJet magazine.
The ASA is concerned that the wording of the adverts did not make roaming charges clear, adding that the firm should have made more of a 15MB usage cap on a £1.99 a day deal. It told the firm that it must make charges and limits clearer, and the advert will not appear again in the same form.
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