Charter Communications has prevailed in its appeal of a decision by the BBB National Program’s National Advertising Division (NAD) about speed claims in its broadband advertising.
The appeal was upheld by the National Advertising Review Board (NARB), the appellate advertising body of BBB National Programs. The original challenge was brought by Frontier Communications Parent, Inc., the parent of service provider Frontier Communications.
Examples of the claims that initially were found to be misleading are “Ultra-Fast speeds of 400 Mbps” and “Super-fast reliable speeds of 200 Mbps to power all your devices with no data caps.”
NAD had recommended that Charter qualify its speed claims to indicate whether they referred to download or upload speeds and said that data speeds in both directions are material issues for consumers in selecting their ISPs.
Charter argued in its appeal that it has been an industry practice for a long time to refer to download speeds as simply “speeds.” The panel accepted this and noted a lack of evidence of consumer confusion and found that the claims do not mislead a reasonable consumer. One panelist dissented and said that the claims were ambiguous and could refer to both upload and download speeds.
Charter’s statement in the press release said that the company “delivers speed tier options up to 1 Gbps to all of its customers and welcomes the appellate panel’s decision to set aside NAD’s recommendation with respect to the industry-standard manner in which these speed tier options are advertised.”
Last month, NAD decided on charges brought by T-Mobile against Consumer Cellular. The organization found that Consumer Cellular’s claim that its plans were half the cost of competing plans from major carriers were supported in some cases. Not all were, and NAD suggested that Consumer Cellular more precisely note the basis of the comparison and other material differences.
NAD also ruled on claims about annual savings (not supported and should be discontinued), unlimited data (improve disclosure recommended), coverage claims (no action needed) and best price/best quality claims (discontinued, hence no action needed).