Advertisement: A leaflet from eir advertising their broadband, phone, 4G mobile and TV bundles stated:
“Bundle & SAVE FREE eir Sport Pack
Home Phone €35
4G Mobile a month
eir Broadband, Phone, 4G Mobile and TV Bundle
Get unlimited fibre broadband with FREE eir Sport, home phone, 4G mobile and TV.
·100Mb unlimited fibre broadband
·FREE eir Sport 1 & 2 PLUS four BT Sport channels
·FREE 4G Smartphone with 1GB of 4G data €35
·Unlimited mobile calls to landlines, eir & Meteor mobiles a month
·Unlimited texts and 100 minutes to any network for the first 6 months €100 a month thereafter
·54 great TV channels plus watch TV on the go for FREE
·Access to over 1,000 movies on demand with eir movies
Plus Unlimited home phone calls to all Irish and UK mobiles and landlines
“FREE eir Sport includes eir Sport 1 & 2 plus four BT Sport channels”
The leaflet included details of upcoming matches that would be live and exclusive on eir sport followed by the details of a further bundle.
“Get FREE eir Sport by signing up to any eir Broadband bundle.
eir Broadband and Phone Bundle
Get unlimited superfast fibre broadband with FREE eir Sport and home phone.
12 month contract
100Mb unlimited fibre broadband €35 a month
FREE eir sport 1 & 2 PLUS four BT Sport channels for the first 3 months
Access to over 1,000 movies on demand with eir movies €70 a month thereafter
Unlimited home phone calls to all Irish and UK mobiles and landlines
The footnote at the bottom of page 2 of the leaflet included the following:
“Eir Sport is free on all fixed line residential broadband bundles subject to you entering into a 12/18/24 month contract. Quoted quad play eir Fibre bundle consisting of broadband, voice, mobile and TV is €35 a month for first 6 months, €100 a month for remaining 18 months. Quoted dual play eir Fibre bundle consisting of broadband and voice is €35 a month for first 3 months, €70 a month for remaining 9 months. Promotional prices are only available to new customers. eir Fibre broadband is subject to availability and speeds may vary. 4G subject to 4G coverage and availability.”
The complainant considered that the leaflet was misleading. On receipt of the leaflet with his newspaper, the complainant noted that it was advertising broadband speeds of “100Mb” and subsequently ran a test on his broadband speed, which was sold to him as an “up to 100Mb” broadband package, and noted that his line was only receiving speeds of 17Mb. As the leaflet had not included the term ‘up to’ his considered the reference to 100Mb was misleading.
The complainant also referred to the size and text of the footnote which had contained the disclaimer “subject to availability and speeds may vary” and considered that it was very difficult to read and considered that it was in breach of Section 4.6 of the Code.
The advertisers stated that the leaflet had included the lines “Broadband is subject to availability and speeds may vary” and as their website had said that the speed was “up to 100Mb” they considered that there was no guarantee of 100Mb as the availability of the service varied per individual account.
In regards to the size and text of the footnote, they said that the font size was set at 5.9pt which was missed in their review process. They said that for advertising going forward, the font size had been corrected.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. While the Committee noted that the advertisers’ website had stated that the broadband speed on offer was ‘up to’ 100Mb, the leaflet had not and therefore, consumers could have expected that the speed being offered generally was a 100Mb product. While the Committee noted that the footnote had included the statement “subject to availability and speeds may vary”, they considered that it could be easily overlooked by consumers due to the volume of text included and as it had not been linked to the main body copy by way of an asterisk or similar.
The Committee noted that the size of the text had been set at 5.9pt which was slightly lower than that used by the advertisers generally and that they would be ensuring that future similar advertisements would use larger text.
In the circumstances the Committee considered that the leaflet was in breach of Sections 4.1, 4.4 and 4.6 of the Code.
ACTION REQUIRED: The advertisement must not reappear in its current form again.