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Medium: Internet (Company Website), Social Media
ASAI Code 6th Edition: 1.6(c), 2.9, 2.22, 2.24, 2.45, 2.46
A sponsored link by eir on Facebook featured a map of Wicklow Town and referred to the following:
“Wicklow, 100Mb unlimited superfast fibre broadband is here!
Get 100Mb fibre broadband
Get unlimited superfast fibre...”
The advertisers also provided a map on their website in relation to eir Fibre rollout availability. The text above the map referred to the following:
“This map is an illustrative guide only and not a guarantee of availability. “For precise results, use our eir Fibre availability checker.” Consumers were then invited to enter their home phone number or address to check eir Fibre availability at their exact location.”
The complainant said that the information provided by the advertisers was misleading as the speeds advertised were not available in Wicklow. Likewise the complainant said that it was inaccurate for the advertisers to indicate on their website that a large proportion of Arklow was fibre enabled, as again this was not the case.
The advertisers said that it would never be their intention to purposely mislead or misinform their existing or potential customers. They said that their records illustrated that they had over 70% fibre penetration rate in Wicklow town, which they considered justified their running of their geo-targeted advertisement on Facebook. The purpose of their advertising had been to make residents of Wicklow Town aware that superfast fibre broadband was now available in their area.
In addressing the complainant’s concern in relation to broadband availability in Arklow, the advertisers said that the text above the map on their website had clearly stated that “this map is for illustrative purposes only and not all homes within the eir Fibre area can avail of the service. To determine if eir Fibre is available at your home, please enter your home phone number or address into our interactive tool.”
The Secretariat then asked the advertisers to indicate the percentage of coverage which they provided in Wicklow.
The advertisers reiterated that their advertising had been geographically targeted to those in the Wicklow Area, on the basis that their Fibre products were available to people living in Wicklow town and across the wider county. Unfortunately, they said, the figure for percentage coverage on a county-wide basis was not available to eir’s
Consumer arm and this was information that only eir’s Wholesale Division, Open eir, were privy to. They said that an eir Consumer could estimate service coverage across smaller areas such as a town or village using the publically available fibre checker, but did not have the necessary information to determine percentage coverage on a wider, county or nationwide basis.
The Complaints Committee considered the details of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. They noted that the advertisement had made reference to the fact that superfast fibre broadband was available in Wicklow. They noted, however, that the figures provided by the advertisers related only to coverage in Wicklow Town and that they were unable to provide figures in relation to availability in the surrounding areas. They reminded the advertisers that there was an onus on them to be able to substantiate the claims made in their advertising.
The advertisers should not advertise in the same format again without having adequate substantiation for the claims made.