back to article Virgin Media DOUBLE-PUNCHED by BSkyB AND BT over ad fibs

Virgin Media has been placed on the naughty step by the UK's advertising watchdog following two separate complaints from rival telcos BSkyB and BT. The cable company was berated by BSkyB for misleadingly implying that Sky Sports had been included in Virgin Media's advertised price for its "Big Kahuna Bundle". Broadcasting …

  1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

    That's pretty rich from BT

    BT to Vermin Media

    "Hullo? Pot here. Kettle; you''re black"

  2. dotdavid

    DOUBLE-PUNCHED?!

    More like double-gently-prodded.

    1. Tom 260

      Re: DOUBLE-PUNCHED?!

      Rather than the useless punishment of "Do not show this advert again in its current form" when said advert is 3-6 months out of date, the ASA should be able to ban a company from all advertising in that specific media (TV/print/web/etc) for 3 or 6 months.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: DOUBLE-PUNCHED?!

        don't be silly, the companies know that ASA is there for the plebs' peace of mind, ASA knows it's there for the plebs' peace of mind, and the plebs know it too. Plebs can do fuckall about it, ASA cares fuckall about it (guss why), and the media companies all lie through their teeth. Next week: Virgin complaining about BT ad, and the week after Sky complaining about...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "We're no good, but we're the least shitiest."

    Why do Virgin Media bother with these misleading ads, when all they need to do is say the following:

    We're not BT, and you won't need their line.

    But I doubt their sales dept. could cope with the spike.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: "We're no good, but we're the least shitiest."

      You forgot

      "We are not Murdoch."

    2. Vince

      Re: "We're no good, but we're the least shitiest."

      Because invariably you then need a Virgin phone line to get anything near the advertised price (except that is never includes the £15.99 line rental).

      At least BT have a reason for the phone line to deliver the broadband, Virgin are literally using it to make them seem competitive and giving themselves a healthy profit to boot.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "We're no good, but we're the least shitiest."

      "Why do Virgin Media bother with these misleading ads, when all they need to do is say the following:

      We're not BT, and you won't need their line."

      Because, my dear AC, on pure like for like plays there's always someone a fair bit cheaper than Virginmedia when you look beyond the introductory offers, even when you allow for BT's line rental cash cow. And because Virginmedia offer rubbish routers that aren't really fit for purpose. And because under the Cable Cowboy they've run a series of price hikes to piss customers off.

  4. Thomas 6

    I had to put in a complaint to Virgin Media about their email campaign which was offering the Big Kahuna bundle for only £X more than I currently pay.

    Unfortunately for them maths was not their strong point as I worked it out that it would have actually cost £X+Y more (can't remember the figures but Y>5).

    1. dotdavid

      I made the mistake of reading one of the many junk mails they drop through my letterbox when they first announced this new package, and remember thinking "woah, that's quite a good deal".

      Then I read the small print and realised they were comparing packages without line rental, making it pretty much what their old deal was just with a new name and associated 12 month contract lock-in. No thanks.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I return every "to the household" letter that VM gets the Royal PO to put through my letter box. Wish everyone would.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          how do you return the letters?

          when there's no return address? :(

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: how do you return the letters?

            "how do you return the letters? when there's no return address? :("

            You know that red cylinder with a letter sized slot in it? Stick it in there.

            Then the people who posted it through your letter box can decide how they want to deal with it. If they get enough returns they'll start insisting on a returns address (and charging the originator) but it's their problem.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: how do you return the letters?

              You know that red cylinder with a letter sized slot in it? Stick it in there.

              Then the people who posted it through your letter box can decide how they want to deal with it.

              Unfortunately, the people who posted it through my letter box don't give a flying monkey about it when they sort what's in them red cylinders. No return address - straight into the bin.

  5. Alex Walsh

    Cable speed is good

    Recently got my free upgrade from 120Mbps to 150Mbps from Virgin Media. Click along to speedtest.net last night (9pm, so peak usage time) and it benched at 149.93Mbps. Must say I can't grumble on that aspect of the service. Since I don't watch movies or paid sports channels, they do what I want them to very well :)

    1. Steven Davison

      Re: Cable speed is good

      Call me a cynic, but it's possible that VM(and the other ISP's) have cottoned on to such popular sites and are shaping the traffic to ensure good results...

      1. ukgnome Silver badge

        @Steven Davison - You're a cynic

        Which is why speedtest.net rents servers around the world to respond rather than using one server.

        And you can change that server to gain an accurate real world result rather than rely on the closest.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @ukgnome - You should be a cynic

          That's still a fairly restricted number, and of known servers. If you use other speed testing services eg

          http://www.broadbandspeedchecker.co.uk

          then I certainly get different and far slower speeds.

          My day to day usage feels more like the broadbandspeedchecker 50 Mb indication than the speedtest.net 100 Mb claim.

  6. ColonelClaw

    This reminds me of the time Al Fayed went up against the Hamiltons in court. How the hell are you meant to back when all involved are such scum?

  7. maffski

    Misleading?

    Surely the misleading bit was it showed him watching cable TV in a mobile home doing 50 miles an hour? Or do virgin media do a 'Big Reel' package?

  8. Cthonus

    Ham-fisted bun vendors

    "shouldn't hoodwink customers into thinking that elements of its bundled packages were being offered for free or at a discounted rate"

    But that's exactly how they deal with *not* giving you a refund when the service dies - "Oh, we offer that for FREE"...

  9. Steven Davison

    I'd still like someone to slap virgin media over their claims of a fibre optic broadband service... Just the same as BT's FTTC offering, the last mile is copper...

    1. Lallabalalla

      I have VM fibre optic broadband: we have a cable coming directly into the house, not a particle of copper in sight. Steady at 50Mbps for 8 months, and holding.

      You'll only get FTTC if they don't have an FO cable laid in your street that they can run a spur from.

      1. Elmer Phud Silver badge

        I've got FTTC - then an O/H in copper.

        What pees me off is that there is another green box really close to me but under the rules - despite all the cables ending up at the same place - BT are not allowed to use it.

        With Speedtest I get a better ping from Germany than a server five miles up the road.

    2. Down not across Silver badge

      (not so) fibre optic broadband

      I'd still like someone to slap virgin media over their claims of a fibre optic broadband service... Just the same as BT's FTTC offering, the last mile is copper...

      Quite. Especially since they claim to be X times faster than BT, which suggests they're refering to cable modem service which over a coax to the house so it is not fibre all the way.

      Mind you nothing wrong with the bit of coax, beats BT's rotten twisted pair anyway. ...

      Hey VM now that you do DOCSIS 3, can I have 24x8 channels please?

  10. Cynical Shopper

    Incomplete information

    "Get it all for just £30 a month for the first six months."

    I've no idea how much that would cost me.

    Ofcom should not permit this type of thing without the advertiser also saying what the cost after six months is, and preferably the contact length too. And it should include line rental in all prices, which I bet it doesn't.

    1. Lallabalalla

      Re: Incomplete information

      No it doesn't, I'm pretty sure. I get 50mb broadband and "Talk Unlimited" (which isn't really of course - and which we hardly ever call out on) for £23.50 - but then there's £15.99 whacked on top for the line rental.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Free but...

    Virgin have long used having to pay installation fees and subscriptions to get "free" options tricks. They seem to have improved recently but their "exclusive for you" offers are simply semantic sophistry.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Free but...

      Installation fees need not be paid.

      Just tell them to come and take the whole lot away because you are going freeview/NowTV with another ISP.

      Next thing you know you are talking to customer retention agent, and the installation is free and you will have a £10 per month discount on the already cheap offer.

  12. Hellcat

    up-to: the scurge of advertisement.

    I've not understood to this day why BT et all are able to advertise their broadband using the up-to slogan. I'd be interested to know how many people are actually limited to the advertised speed and the what is the average. At least Virgin has been decent in that aspect - 62mbps on 60mbps service.

    VM bundles however - bad riddence. Dropping TV and phone ASAP. Who needs it when you can get HD freeview, most channels offer online catchup services, and PVRs are getting cheaper with bigger storage.

    1. Lallabalalla

      Re: up-to: the scurge of advertisement.

      I don't like their set top box either: A friend had one and half the EPG is missing in favour of advertising about crappy virgin "must-have" programming and services. You can't see what is actually on, and the VM stuff is "sticky" at the top of the listings so you're constantly in danger of clicking on the damn thing by mistake.

      Freeview rules! Add a "smart TV" (there's an oxymoron for you!) which has built-in catch-up apps from the Beeb, C4 etc and you're good to go. Usually able to plug in a USB stick if you're desperate, though you can usually only record what you're watching as AFAIK there aren't too many twin-tuner TVs out there.

    2. Elmer Phud Silver badge

      Re: up-to: the scurge of advertisement.

      "I've not understood to this day why BT et all are able to advertise their broadband using the up-to slogan."

      They only guarantee the speed at the exchange - after that there are many reasons why speed drops.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: up-to: the scurge of advertisement.

        Still utter bollocks - I don't live at the exchange, and neither does anybody else.

        They know the exact bandwidth their existing customers are getting, so should be forced to state the range of speeds one should expect to get, and not the theoretical maximum you might possibly manage to get if you happened to plug your modem directly into the DSLAM.

        (After all, if you were that close you wouldn't be using a modem anyway)

        BEfore I left due to them being acquired by scum, my previous ISP used to publish the 'speed' any given customer could expect to get the moment you put in your postcode, and they even offered to cancel your subscription with no charges if you didn't get it.

        Why exactly won't every ISP do that?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Any company

    who habitually sends me four letters every week offering me A GREAT NEW DEAL and FANTASTIC SAVINGS can go fuck right off.

    They should be taken to task over the amount of junk mail they send - no other company comes close.

    (VM in case you hadn't realised)

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