In its 'Hate to Wait' campaign, Virgin Media highlighted download times for music and video content, but BT argued that because of caps enforced by Virgin Media, downloads during peak times would be slower than those advertised. The complaint followed a similar row in February when BT complained about Virgin's 'Truth, Lies and Broadband' campaign, although in that instance Virgin won out.
This time the ASA backed BT by saying that the Virgin Media advert did not make it clear that customers on lower speed packages would be able to download video content at the speeds advertised only during off-peak hours.
"We considered that the text 'Acceptable usage policy applies' did not make the peak-time restrictions and it would not be unreasonable for readers to expect to be able to download at least one half-hour TV show on the M package, or several half-hour TV shows on the L package, during the five hours of the peak-time period without breaching Virgin's traffic management system and having their speed capped," said the ASA.
"Because that was not the case we concluded that the ad was misleading," the ASA added.
It ruled that Virgin Media must amend the advert to clarify that for some users download times would be restricted during peak hours.
Virgin Media admitted that users of its 2Mbps service would be subject to data caps during peak hours but said it believed its ad campaign made it clear different packages offered different speeds.
"We believe our 'Hate to Wait' campaign provided a simple and transparent comparison between broadband speeds for consumers looking to choose between Virgin Media's M, L and XL broadband packages."
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