Two TalkTalk emails promoting a broadband upgrade to customers have been banned after the firm misleadingly claimed users were approaching their data capacity.
The emails, in February and March, had the recipient’s name in the subject line followed by text stating: “Your usage is affecting your broadband service. Let’s fix it.”
The email went on: “Your broadband isn’t keeping up with you… We’ve noticed that, at peak times, your current broadband may no longer be giving you the capacity you need. That’s why we recommend upgrading your line to fibre, which will give you 4x more than your current capacity.”
The second email also included a warning that the recipient had “hit your limit 3 times in 30 days”.
Two people, who understood their broadband usage had not been at capacity, complained that the claims were misleading.
TalkTalk said that “capacity” referred to the maximum amount of data the line could provide at any particular time, and they believed it would be interpreted in that way by consumers.
The firm admitted that neither complainant had reached their broadband capacity, although it said both had “neared that level”, arguing that the language in the emails did not state that their broadband was definitely insufficient for their needs but was “conditional”.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the email was sent to customers who had reached two-thirds of their line’s bandwidth capacity twice in a 30-day period.
The ASA said: “We had not seen evidence that the complainants had reached their data capacity, therefore because the claims had not been substantiated, we concluded the ads were misleading.”
It ruled that the ads must not appear again in their current form, adding: “We told TalkTalk not to imply that their customers were closer to reaching their broadband data capacity than was actually the case.”
A TalkTalk spokeswoman said: “We are disappointed with the ASA ruling.
“Consumers are using the internet more than ever and many are looking for a faster, more reliable connection. Our aim with this campaign was to inform customers, based on the data we had, that a fibre connection may improve their overall experience considering their current usage.”