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Watchdog launches consultation into telecoms advertising

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Regulators have launched a consultation into how mobile and broadband prices are advertised.

The move by CAP (Committee of Advertising Practice) and BCAP (the Broadcasting equivalent) could mean that mid-contract prices are more prominently stated in advertising across all media – to avoid misleading customers.

Contracts for both mobile and broadband services often include price increases, usually linked to inflation, which can kick in during the term of the agreement. This is permitted, subject to certain conditions.

However inflation has reached a 40-year high of 10.1% and the Bank of England expects it to hit 13% by the end of the year and stay high throughout most of 2023.

“Telecoms contracts are often complex products, and there are a range of factors to consider in determining what is likely to constitute sufficiently prominent presentation of information about mid-contract price rises in ads for such services,” explained the consultation notes.

“Drawing on previous ASA casework in this area, CAP and BCAP are examining the issue in the round through a consultation process. While a change to the advertised price during the term of the contract would be material information under any circumstances, in the current climate, rises in the cost of living mean that such increases are likely to have an even greater impact on consumers.”

They are now consulting on a set of principles which they believe are likely to help telecoms ads be “more likely to comply with the Codes and less likely to mislead consumers in their presentation of information about mid-contract price increases.”

It will run until 17th November.

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