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Sky's claim that UPC breached ad code upheld

the battle between the country's subscription TV giants has heated up after a complaint by Sky that some UPC ads did not flag price hikes was upheld.

The omission was likely to mislead customers and was therefore in breach of the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland's (ASAI) code, the watchdog ruled.

In all, it ruled on 13 complaints, 12 of which were upheld.

Other advertisers falling foul of the authority were Danone, Vodafone, Eircom and the Dublin Airport Authority.

ambiguity

Sky had complained that some promotional offers on its rival UPC's website dated January 23, 2014 made no reference to price increases from March 1.

UPC responded by saying there had been no "inaccuracy, ambiguity, exaggeration, omission or otherwise" between the company and its customers.

Among the measures undertaken had been to launch a specific "price change" webpage on January 22, indicating prices for some services would be changing, it said.

But the ASAI's complaints committee ruled that an unavoidable price change was a significant fact and should have been stated on each relevant product page. A second complaint by Sky was rejected.

In another case, UPC was the complainant. It related to Eircom's "quad-play bundle" offering broadband, home phone, mobile and TV "from only €30 a month".

UPC claimed the information gave the impression all four products were available from €30 per month, which was not the case. The ASAI ruled in favour of UPC.

Danone also fell foul of the watchdog following a complaint from a doctor challenging the food company's assertion in an ad that "your immune system needs a healthy breakfast every day".

The doctor considered the claim to be "not based on scientific or medical fact".

In response, Danone referenced research that shows a "well-functioning" immune system has "beneficial physiological effects".

Danone said it amended the line to state: "So why not start each day by giving your immune system a healthy breakfast?"

Upholding the complaint, the ASAI noted that it had not seen evidence that "eating breakfast per se impacted beneficially on the immune system".

A grievance against Vodafone for not making clear that availing of a "new phone every year" resulted in a further 24-month contract was deemed valid.

reprimanded

Meanwhile, the Dublin Airport Authority was reprimanded over an offer of a free cup of coffee and free fast-track access for booking short-term parking online.

The complainant booked into the car park in compliance with what he thought were the conditions but could not avail of the offers.

The DAA argued the full terms and conditions were available online and they included a stipulation that the offer was only valid midweek.

The ASAI said that the radio ads should have included the information that the offer only applied to midweek bookings.

comurphy@herald.ie


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