UK WATCHDOG the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has banned a number of TalkTalk adverts over 'misleading claims' about the performance of its bundled WiFi hub.
The ASA investigated TV, radio and website ads for TalkTalk's WiFi hub which boasted that customers "won't get a better WiFi signal from any of the other big providers" following a complaint from BT, which argued that the claims were misleading and could be substantiated.
While TalkTalk claimed test results showed that the performance of its hub was similar to BT's and significantly better than the performance of the Virgin, Sky, Plusnet and Vodafone routers, the ASA ruled that the testing was only carried out in a "clean" environment with no accompanying tests in real consumer homes.
"Only co-channel interference from one other WiFi network was tested for, while TalkTalk had not tested for any forms of non-WiFi interference that would be present in consumers' homes," the ASA grumbled. "We therefore considered that the tests were insufficient to reflect the interference that typically occurred in everyday homes.
"TalkTalk needed to demonstrate that the environment was typical of normal use and conditions, such as interference."
In its defence, TalkTalk said it did conduct a number of tests to check the router's performance against rival devices and "did not believe consumers would understand the claim to be solely based on how far a signal reached."
Regardless, the ASA upheld BT's complaint and ruled that the adverts must not be shown again in their current form. It also warned the ISP "not to make comparative claims about their router in future based on 'inadequate testing.'"
In a statement given to INQ, TalkTalk said it was "disappointed" by the ASA's ruling "as independent experts were commissioned to carry out testing to ensure the most rigorous and realistic testing environment."
"While we believe that our tests substantiate the claim, we have adhered to the ASA's ruling and have removed the claim from all advertising," the spokesperson added. "We remain committed to treating our customers fairly and providing reliable and affordable broadband to homes across the UK." µ
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