So last year I made a complaint to the ASAI (Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland), this was based a long and rather annoying argument with Eircom. I raised a complaint with them and while they refunded me the cost of the line and cancelled my service they refused to accept that the advertising on their website was misleading.
In essence Eircom only advertise broadband products including bundles that are available to NGB (Next Generation Broadband) enabled Exchanges, however a large number of exchanges do not provide NGB including my Local Exchange in Tullow Co. Carlow, in response to a query from the ASAI, Eircom said that 73% of lines in their exchanges could avail of NGB and of their existing customers, 65% were within a NGB exchange.
35% of customers can’t access NGB and so can’t access any of the broadband products that Eircom advertise on their website.
So after several months the ASAI have upheld my complaint and stated that Eircom need to change how they advertise Broadband services, as of today Eircom have not made those changes.
The full report from http://www.asai.ie/complaint_view.asp?CID=1064&BID=53 is below
|Medium||Internet (Company Website)|
The eircom website advertising three of their broadband and home phone bundles stated:
Regular: €45.00 per month first 6 months €50.00 per month thereafter. Get started now. Up to 8Mb download. Unlimited Usage. Unlimited Off-Peak Local & National calls 30 mobile minutes.
Ultimate: €55.00 per month first 6 months €60.00 per month thereafter. Get started now. Up to 24 Mb download. Unlimited Usage. Unlimited Off-Peak Local & National calls 30 mobile minutes.”
The complainant signed up for the Broadband Basic bundle by telephone, having been unable to do so online. He said that he had previously achieved line speeds of 7Mb but after installation of the new bundle, his speed dropped to IMb. On enquiring, he was informed that the bundles advertised on the eircom website were only available to areas that currently had Next Generation Broadband (NGB) exchanges. As he did not live in an NGB enabled area, he could not avail of the advertised bundles and had been automatically placed on a bundle that was available in his area but which had a lower speed. If he wished to achieve the speeds he had previously enjoyed (7Mb) he would have to move to a more expensive bundle of €55.00 per month. He considered the advertising misleading as it did not state that the bundles were only available in a NGB enabled area.
|2006 Code||2.9 2.22 2.45|
Eircom stated that they advertise their three most popular bundles on their website which start at ‘from €40’. They also stated that if a customer tried to purchase a NGB bundle online they would be asked for their telephone number and if they could not get NGB they would be presented with their ordinary broadband bundles. They also stated that the speed of each bundle was advertised as ‘up to’ so that consumers would know that the speed was an ‘up to’ speed. They said that when purchasing a bundle over the telephone, the selling agent should be clear with the consumer what they could and could not avail of in their area.
They also said that the bundles advertised online are examples of what could be purchased and not a guarantee that an individual consumer could get the exact bundles; this would be explained to the consumer at point of purchase.
In response to a query from the ASAI, they said that 73% of lines in their exchanges could avail of NGB and of their existing customers, 65% were within a NGB exchange.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response, including the level of availability of NGB. They were concerned however that the advertising did not indicate that the bundles were only available to NGB enabled lines. They also noted that there was no indication on the advertisers’ website of what products were available to other customers; given the high percentage of non-NGB exchanges, they considered that this was a significant exclusion. The Committee considered that the advertising was misleading and was in breach of Sections 2.9, 2.22, 2.45 of the Code.
The advertisement must not be used in its current form. Where products were limited to NGB exchanges, they should be clearly identified as such.