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back to article TalkTalk ads banned by watchdog over 'misleading' YouView offer

Budget ISP TalkTalk has been warned to be careful with how its uses the term "free" in the future, after the telco was found by the ads watchdog to have "misled" customers over claims it had made about one of its promotional deals. The company had run a TV commercial and sent out a direct mailing late last year for a broadband, …

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Which is why you should treat anything said by the wide boys of telco / ISP industry with a pinch of salt.

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Holmes

"Free" should be banned.

All advertisements claiming the product they sell is 'free' should be banned where there is ANY outgoing involved by the consumer OR such a no-outlay contract penalises a consumer from pursuing alternatives during the term of the contract.

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FAIL

Hypocrites!

Free should mean free, but unlimited does not mean unlimited?

Caveats should NEVER be allowed in advertising. It is, or it isn't!

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Anonymous Coward

No such thing as free

But it should be included in the price.

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Re: No such thing as free

I moved house several years ago to one with cables for Sky already wired. I had it many years ago and knew how to set it up (even what the hidden menus are for). Yet for Sky to give me the box, they had to come round and 'fit' it for a fee.

When the engineer arrived, I had all the cables hanging out the front of the TV stand ready to plug in to their appropriate holes. All he had to do was plug them in (like a child fitting different shaped blocks into different shaped holes) and call Sky to tell them the number on my viewing card.

I did try to argue with them before they organised the man to come round, but they weren't having it. I had to pay the set up fee.

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The whole unlimited side of things is hairy. It's worth noting that the Mobe companies haven't signed up to the ISP code of conduct - which would prevent them selling bogus "unlimited" services AND stop them filtering VOIP.

On the landline side, most "unlimited" packages now mean it. (he says, having pulled 700Gb last month streaming "quality educational nature documentaries")

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Pirate

Keep your knickers on dear

The TELCOs are merely doing their bit for the economy. They didn't invent the Bunco based economic model but they are in there grifting away with the financial services and utility companies. Don't question it too closely or we'll all end up like Greece.

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Happy

Lawyers and Tech Companies

I can't think of any two groups who have done more to create definitions for words than lawyers and tech companies.

1) Take 'good word' and apply completely different meaning.

2) Repeat newly redefined 'good word' as much as possible

3) Defend 'good word' in court citing your own literature - 'Look, it says right here in our brochure that 'good word' was originally defined incorrectly but thankfully we got it right.

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Perhaps it's time that telcos were forced to be a little more honest?

https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/ofcom-ban-the-fraudulent-use-of-the-term-unlimited-by-mobile-networks-and-isps

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Signed, for all the good it will do.

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Joke

Signed!

By which I mean: I didn't actually sign it, but I told people I did.

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Anonymous Coward

As a Talk Talk customer myself

Yes, I know, I know. They are cheap and they work, never had any issues.

They have been trying to push this Youview box bullshit very hard to customers in the past few weeks. I've received at least 4 separate "courtesy calls" and a flyer in the post to try to get me to agree to a new 24 month contract with the "free" box. They never mentioned anything about a £50 installation fee.

Speaking of "installation fee".....Isn't it just a freeview box that plugs into your broadband connection to give "them" control over the device and access to whatever data they decide to collect?

What kind of installation is needed?

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Coat

What kind of installation is needed?

The kind that costs £50

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What kind of installation is needed?

Yes, Plug that into there, that into there and that into there......£50 please.

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Re: What kind of installation is needed?

like they say though, you are not paying for the mechanic to hit it with a hammer, you are paying for him to know where to hit it

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Unhappy

Re: like they say though...

In this case, though, there is no mechanic, no hammer and no hitting required.

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Re: like they say though...

The £50 installation fee has been dropped for self installations, I got my box about a month ago for free, haven't got round to plugging it in yet as I don't have a decent aerial.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: like they say though...

"In this case, though, there is no mechanic, no hammer and no hitting required"

Well if it works as badly as my talktalk connection someone somewhere is going to hit one with a hammer eventually.

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Re: As a Talk Talk customer myself

I'm assuming it needs an antenna of some kind? As well as possibly running a cable to connect to the broadband? Or is it wi-fi capable?

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Re: like they say though...

Actually it will make your TalkTalk conection WORSE.

They force the line to a lower s/n ratio when you take the freeview box and there's no way to push it back up. Lots of complaints about that on Talktalk's customer forums.

I'd call them muppets, but muppets are entertaining.

I'd call their helpdesk as useful as a chocolate teapot, but someone would accuse me of being unkind to chocolate teapots.

etc

The worst part is, they actualy have quite competent technical people behind the scenes, but that's completely bolloxed by the trainwreck of their customer service system (I suspect a trainwreck is less ugly).

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TalkTalk was warned by the watchdog to consider use of the word "free" more carefully in its future ad campaigns, or else... not much.

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History?

The smell of Tiscali lingers

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Pint

Re: History?

there are far better verbs than "smell" for talk talk.

Stench or reek are decent alternatives.

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Anonymous Coward

"standard industry practice"

he's absolutely right, it's a standard industry practice to abuse the language (some people would use a word "lie") and they lie, because they know they'll get a "don't do that again" from this or that "watchdog", and - they move on, to the next lie.

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Re: "standard industry practice"

It's almost as if there's no real consequences to outright lying to the public...

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All bark

Where is the bite for these misleading and plain wrong adverts? Again and again we see the watchdog say "don't do it again, now off you totter." Yet everyone knows they did this and worded it in such a way as to confuse people.

£50 to plug a box in, sheesh. I am sure the box comes with instructions.

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Facepalm

Re: All bark

And they're not even very good at that.

The one that visited my mother got her to buy two unnecessary Homeplugs because "the existing telephone extension socket is not suitable to take the broadband signal." The problem is that the Homeplugs are meant to be plugged directly into wall sockets, NOT extension leads.

In any case, they weren't necessary, and the homeplugs themselves were not working very reliably. The original (non-Talktalk) wifi hub was working fine off the telephone extension. So did the new hub when I plugged it in after figuring out that the socket WASN'T too far from the TV for the wires to reach. (With about 1m of slack, I might add.)

In addition, all they did was to plug in the aerial lead into the Youview box. They did NOT connect the loop-through cable to the TV which resulted in my mother wondering why her normal TV channels weren't working.

The box itself? Many software problems. She's not 100% happy with it; she prefers the way her Humax box worked. On demand content doesn't stream very well. One box stopped working about two months after installation and had to be replaced.

So I ended up feeling very bad over recommending the deal, which on the fact of it looked good. Definitely facepalm.

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Meh

Porkie du jour

Yet another telco tells a massive porkie in its ad and gets a robust gumming by a toothless ASA.

The only way there will ever be a point to the ASA will be when / if it ever gets the ability to actually fine an offender or ban them from advertising for a certain length of time.

Of course, that is never going to happen while the ASA is being paid for by the advertisers.

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I got my TalkTalk YouView box for free... There is an option on the website for "self-installation" which allows you to bypass the £50 fee.

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Ditto

They sent it to me, without me parting with £50. Plugged it in, and it worked. Dead easy and ostensibly, its fine. Cancelled Sky. Bloody outrageously cheap offers to try to make me stay, any sky customer paying the rate card shouldn't be, they are more flexible than an Olympic gymnast when you threaten to quit. And, despite letters confirming the cancellation, they still try to take the money each month and get antsy when they cant. Pros.

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Anonymous Coward

The self-install option is a recent addition. When this complaint was lodged it almost certainly wasn't an option.

I would also like to see how they justify their "worth £299" claim for their cheap Huawei box which has never been sold at that price, ever.

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Happy

We got it free

We got the box free. We even got first six months free due to a cock up in the transfer from the old Tiscali TV service to the TalkTalk YouView service which left us with no TV for a week (only got an old analogue tube TV).

For all those that complain to ASA. Have they not got a life. Have they not got any common sense to realise that unlimited is a marketing term, just like free is. Always look at the small print (or the bill).

Or are they doing it on behalf of others who they think are so stupid as to not realise what they are buying? Not got much faith in humanity have they?

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Re: We got it free

I think it is fairly reasonable, surely it is out of order for someone to phone up and say "knock off the £50 and i'll install it myself" and TalkTalk to refuse saying it is inline with industry practice to charge £50 for an advertised "free" box. Clearly the box isnt "free" if you cant bypass the £50 fee.

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Re: We got it free

I did this and that was exactly their response. Hence the complaint.

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Anonymous Coward

Reminds me of a story about wheelie bins

recently ...

Some council moved to wheelie bins, which the government (and EU IIRC) state *must* be supplied free. This council decided to charge a £40 "delivery fee". So far, so good, until council taxpayers started turning up to collect them (I would). At which point the council said "oh, no, you can't collect them ....it's err, .... health and safety".

No idea what happened, but I hope they got torn a new one.

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Dear adman

I'll give you a kick up the arse absolutely free*

*boot dislodgement fee of £50 applies)

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I suspect it was my complaint

Hard to tell, given the usual wording of ASA replies. IE: They did respond to to say that TT had removed mandatory engineer installation charges, so they considered the matter closed.

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