A Google ad for eir stated:
“eir.ie – eir Broadband From €25
Superfast, Unlimited, Fibre Broadband Bundles From Just €25/Month, Hurry!
Best Deals Only Online – eir Vision TV 55+ Channels – 100Mb eir Fibre Speeds
Free Smartphone? eir Bundles From Just €25
Get a Free Smartphone With Your Choose A Bundle Thats Right
eir Mobile Bundle, Hurry! For You & Save €s Now!”
The eir website stated:
“New eir customers pay €25 a month for broadband online.
With eir, the best broadband deals in Ireland are always found online.
Unlimited Superfast Fibre Unlimited calls to all Irish €25/m
Broadband up to 100Mb landlines and mobiles Online exclusive price of
€25 (offline €30) a month
for the first 3 months for
new customers, thereafter
€62 a month.
The complainant considered that the pricing in the advertising was not transparent as the introductory price was in a large font. He considered that as the average person signed up for broadband for several years, the prices were not strongly relevant to the overall price of the product. He noted that the contract was an 18 month contract, so the introductory price of €25 was not relevant to the majority of the term of the contract. He considered that this format was misleading and confusing and that the price over the term of the contract should be prominent.
eir noted that the complainant considered their Google AdWords search advert misleading on the basis that it only highlighted temporary introductory pricing and not the price that was relevant for the entire duration of the contract. They said that this advertisement had stated three times that eir Broadband was available “from €25”. They said that this language clearly indicated to the reader that a sliding scale of prices applied to eir’s Broadband product portfolio. They said that the advertisement and the link contained within it had also invited the reader to click through to the eir site for further information. They said that this advertising format was limited in the numbers of characters that could be used and due to these copy restrictions, it would never be possible to include full terms and conditions of an offer.
In regards to the complainant’s comment that €25 was a ‘temporary introductory price’, they said that this price was the price applicable to 33% of the minimum term of the contract so they respectfully disagreed with the complainant on this point.
They finally said that they were not the only broadband provider to advertise in this manner.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. While the Committee noted that the Google AdWords had stated that the €25 was a “From” price, there was no indication in the advertisement that this was an introductory price. They acknowledged that the advertisement had included a link to the bundle on the eir website, however, they considered that the Google AdWords advertisement was in breach of Sections 2.22, 2.24, 3.15 and 3.16 of the Code.
The Google AdWords advertisement must not reappear in its current form.