Virgin Media forced to drop 'unlimited' claim

28 March 2013

Virgin Media have been forced to drop an ad that claimed they gave 'unlimited' broadband after BSkyB and BT secretly teamed up and grassed them up to the ASA. Virgin Media users will know that their service isn't exactly unlimited, and many will have found their download speeds cut by 50%.

This is bad news for Branson's internet wing, as their whole marketing campaign is based around being faster than their rivals.

The Advertising Standards Authority received three complaints (the two from BSkyB and BT, and another from a member of the public) who said the advert was misleading consumers, saying that Virgin Media operates a "traffic management" policy that significantly cuts the internet speed of users who download a lot.

Virgin Media argued that a user would have to download 11,000Mb at peak times to have their broadband speed slowed temporarily, which wouldn't affect 97.7% of their customers. However, ASA pointed out that consumers would invariably want to partake in "bandwidth intensive activities" thanks to Virgin's marketing.

"In that context we considered that the restriction of reducing users' download speeds by 50% was not moderate and that any reference to it was likely to contradict, rather than clarify, the claims that the service was 'unlimited'," the ASA said. "We therefore concluded that the claim 'unlimited' was misleading".

The ASA banned the advertisement and told Virgin Media that they can no longer claim to be 'unlimited' or crow about 'no caps', unless they change the way they do things.

A spokeswoman for Virgin Media have come out swinging, saying: "Our customers receive unlimited, superfast broadband and, even if they're one of the tiny minority traffic managed for a short period of time, Virgin Media customers can download more than other 'unlimited' services, including BT Infinity."

"Unlike BT or Sky, all Virgin Media customers can download as much as they like, safe in the knowledge we'll never charge them more."

TOPICS:   Technology   Advertising

10 comments

  • Daniel A.
    As the other member of the public, I warned them, I asked them to remove caps or increase my speed - but they refused. Note - you can win if you follow the right channels.
  • Hello
    This is bad news for Branson’s internet wing, as their whole marketing campaign is based around being faster than their rivals. So not based around it being unlimited then? So why is it such bad news? Mof = failing to understand what the fuck he is talking about......again
  • samuri
    as we are now blocked from certain sites as-well how can this be unlimited, you pricks
  • Colin
    @ samuri - what do you expect them to do, just ignore a court order?
  • Colin
    @ Mof : This is bad news for Branson’s internet wing, as their whole marketing campaign is based around being faster than their rivals. How the fuck is it bad news being told to drop the unlimited when their campaign is based round being fastest? Another pile of shite from you?
  • Jokester
    What a stupid load of bollocks - have the ASA not noticed all the mobile phone providers who use the term "unlimited" to mean whatever the fuck they want it to mean ???
  • daniel
    i am on the bt infinity 2 package i get 52 down and 18 upload , i am totally unlimited . have regularly been getting 450-700gb weekly and never once had a letter or decrease in my speeds . and as for being blocked from going to certain sites - it is impossible to restrict access to any site . there are means of getting around any such block put in place . you have the whole internet at your disposal and cannot find a way to get around these blocks - must be a slow starter or thick as shit .
  • mr m.
    Clean the car Daniel san! Aiiiiii!
  • daniel
    mr miyagi - Sniff glue you old pedo
  • mr m.
    very kind suggestion but last time mr miyagi use glue was to keep yo mama's legs shut, and i aint goin back to sniff daniel san!

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