The advertising watchdog commissioned GfK to test whether regulatory standards, set by the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) and enforced the ASA, are effective in protecting the public from misleading claims.
“Making sure ads don’t mislead is at the heart of what we do. We’ve taken action this year to tackle confusing broadband pricing, to the benefit of consumers. Our new research indicates that speed claims in ads contribute to consumers’ expectations of the broadband speeds they’ll receive, but their expectations are not being met. That needs to change,” said ASA chief executive Guy Parker.
Current standards permit headline speed claims that are achievable by at least 10% of customers, where they are preceded with the words “up to” and qualified, as appropriate, to help manage consumers’ expectations of achievable speeds.
The research found speed to be a deciding factor in consumers’ choice of broadband provider. Although levels of knowledge varied many consumers don’t know what speeds they require to carry out everyday tasks. Whilst most understood the higher the headline number the greater the speed, many were unclear on what speed they would be likely to achieve themselves.