back to article UK advertising watchdog raps ruler on O2's hand over misleading ads for iPad and Surface Pro deals

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has put O2 on the naughty step after it deemed two of its print adverts for the iPad and Surface Pro tablets misled customers about the overall cost. The first ad to earn the watchdog's ire said: "Chill out with the amazing iPad for less than £9 a month. For the first 3 months." The …

  1. alain williams Silver badge

    After 2 wraps in 3 months ...

    BT/... should be obliged to have all adverts for the next year approved by the ASA before they run - paying a fee for this.

    Attempts to pull the wool should then quickly stop.

    1. eionmac

      Re: After 2 wraps in 3 months ...

      Al ISPs and mobile operators and sellers of air time / phone services should be subject to this, so adverts with price headings can be taken as like for like.

  2. Annihilator Silver badge

    Uphold it properly then

    So basically the punishment for the ad campaign is "don't run the ad campaign again". Presumably it was already complete. So no harm to O2.

    If the ASA genuinely believe people signed up not realising the price hike was there, then force O2 to honour the original charge through the length of the contract.

    Having said that, I don't believe many people will have fallen for it. And how on earth do these "build the delorean" collectible magazines work then? "First issue only £1.99!" (small print on screen, 250 issues, regular price £9.99...)

    1. Cuddles Silver badge

      Re: Uphold it properly then

      "So basically the punishment for the ad campaign is "don't run the ad campaign again". Presumably it was already complete. So no harm to O2.

      If the ASA genuinely believe people signed up not realising the price hike was there, then force O2 to honour the original charge through the length of the contract."

      The problem is that the ASA not only has zero authority to actually do anything, it also has zero intention of doing anything even if it could. It's not a government enforcement agency, it's an industry body set up voluntarily so they could avoid having any actual regulation. Everyone involved agrees to accept the occasional slap on the wrist, just enough to keep the law from getting involved, but on the understanding that they won't ever suffer actual penalties. So the toothless ASA say "You've been very naughty, don't run those adverts that finished months ago again", and the advertisers respond with "Oh dear, what a terrible mistake we've made, we certainly won't say that exact sentence word for word again. What a good job we're all very good and there's no need to get the government or law enforcement involved here. Wink wink.".

      So there's no point worrying about what the ASA should do if there really was a problem with an advert. The ASA is just a smokescreen with no intention or authority to do anything. If you have a problem with misleading adverts, you need to demand the government actually steps in and creates a real regulator.

  3. Chris G Silver badge

    Ever since

    Mobile phones were a thing, telcos have always made the facts of what you may pay and what you are actually getting for your money, as cloudy as possible.

    The telcos sales methods have always seemed to be on par with the old door knocking vacuum cleaner salesmen who would never tell a housewife the actual price if they could help it, only the monthly (or weekly in those days) payment.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Ever since

      Well, there was pre-France Telecom Orange where it seems they were happy to let their services do the selling then when France Telecom took them over it went from one extreme to the other.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Now if they can slap Toyota and Lexus labelling their mild hybrids as self charging

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