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Tiny and Time fight for worst offender crown

Showroom retailers neck and neck

Tiny has drawn level with arch rival Time, as the UK’s leading showroom retailers battle for the title of most misleading PC advertiser.

By upholding the latest complaint against Tiny Computers, the ASA’s (Advertising Standards Authority) June ruling means the Surrey-based PC manufacturer has notched up four upheld complaints in the past 18 months – the same number as Time Computers.

Tiny’s most recent slapping resulted from a misleading advertisement, which claimed that its Millennium Ultimate Power 700 featured “a quite staggeringly fast and powerful Intel Pentium III 700Mhz processor.” It stated that the speed of the machine took it “into Warp drive.”

The complainant objected that ultimate power was not delivered because Tiny had omitted to include an 80-wire cable required to enable optimum performance.

Both companies are in danger of joining the Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA) rogue’s gallery of Repeat Offenders.

The ASA recently identified both PC vendors as potential nominees for the watchdog’s register of serial offenders, which currently boasts 17 serial wrong doers.

"We're keeping a close eye on them," the ASA’s Steve Ballinger told PC Advisor. "If they persist with misleading advertising they could become part of the Repeat Offenders list.”

If Time and Tiny join the ASA’s sin bin, the advertisers will be subject to an electronic tagging system via an Internet database that will alert the body to any new advertisements, allowing prompt action to be taken.

It is almost exactly a year since Tiny was famously spanked for making the claim: “All Tiny PCs are compatible with present and future software and hardware".

On that occasion the complainant successfully challenged the claim on the grounds that he understood computer software and hardware developed so rapidly that to predict their future compatibility was impossible.

A painful caning was also administered to Time last year after it advertised a PC that claimed: "The awesome Time 300M-II Multimedia PC ... 300M-II IBM/Cyrix processor". On this occasion the complainant, who bought the package and measured the speed of the processor to be only 223MHz, objected to the impression that the package contained a 300 MHz processor.


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