First AT&T misled customers for about $300 million dollars. Now AT&T is in trouble for misleading once again.
“Fastest Internet for the price.”
Sounds pretty good, right? Sure, if all you want is 3 Mbps–an Internet speed that barely allows you to stream YouTube videos.
AT&T’s U-Verse advertising claim has recently received some bad reviews due to its unclear message.
The AT&T offer includes Internet downloads of up to 3Mbps for a price of $29.95 a month for the first 12 months, and is then followed by higher prices thereafter.
AT&T U-Verse High Speed Internet claims to provide the customer “speed, reliability, and connectivity,” with the highest downloadable speed being 45 Mbps at a price of $64.95 a month.
The National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus decided that AT&T’s claim “Fastest Internet for the price” is confusing. “NAD recommended that AT&T either discontinue its “Fastest Internet for the price” claim or modify the claim by ensuring that consumers understand that the claim is based on a comparison of pricing for 3.0 Mbps service,” the organization said in an announcement December 1st.
An Internet speed of 3 Mbps is so low that it even falls below the Federal Communications Commission’s definition of broadband. The minimum broadband download speed is 4 Mbps, a speed that the FCC has even considered to also be too low and has proposed to raise it to 10 Mbps. AT&T opposed this [for good reason].
Comcast has submitted the most complaints against AT&T regarding their advertisements.
Their first complaint was about the “Fastest Internet for the price” claim as misleading, which is the one that the FCC responded to.
Comcast also complained about AT&T’s description of its U-Verse High Speed Internet as “reliable.” The NAD disagreed with Comcast on this because of the telecommunications corporation’s ability to reinforce its claim of reliability, but agree that AT&T should modify the television spots so they “no longer convey the unsupported message.”
Comcast’s third complaint was about AT&T’s advertising “up to 45 Mbps,” something Comcast believed not to be true. The NAD, again, disagreed with Comcast and determined that AT&T can support this assertion. But, decided that AT&T should make a change to its advertising because this speed is not widely available.
With only less than 50 percent of the consumers of a particular geographical area having access to the service, “AT&T should modify its advertising to clearly and conspicuously disclose such limitations through the use of explicit qualifying language–e.g. ‘up to 45 Mbps may not be available in your area,'” the NAD said.
AT&T responded to NAD’s recommendations with no reluctance, but did say it is “very disappointed” with NAD’s decision recommending a reduction in theoretical bandwidth for U-Verse users.
AT&T and Comcast have a history of clashing over advertising, and every time, the NAD would step in to act as the referee. This ongoing back-and-forth fighting is very likely to continue in the future.
But in the meantime, be sure to look out for [possible] changes to AT&T television spots.