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Broadband speed advertising is misleading, say MPs

Published 16/04/2016

Customers should be given compensation if they have been misled by internet service providers over broadband speeds
Customers should be given compensation if they have been misled by internet service providers over broadband speeds

Broadband speed advertising is misleading and must be reformed, a cross party group of MPs has said.

Customers should be able to leave contracts and be given compensation if they have been misled by service providers, according to the British Infrastructure Group.

It also criticised the way Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) guidelines mean only one in ten broadband users need to be able to obtain the fastest advertised speed.

Grant Shapps, who set up the group, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: " It seems to us that's extraordinary."

The former Conservative party chairman said tougher laws would be needed if internet service providers and the ASA failed to act.

"Clearly there is an issue with broadband in this country," he said.

"This is talking about all internet service providers who are failing to provide anything like the speeds they are advertising. Of course, once you are in the contract you can't leave it and you don't get compensation."

The infrastructure group's report found that customers had "very few rights" and must be given more powers to act if broadband speeds do not reach the levels promised.

"Rather than one in ten, it should be nine in ten people receive the speeds. You should get automatic compensation. You should be able to leave the contract and if we can't get the internet service providers, or indeed, the regulators, to do that, well then parliament will need to act," he added.

Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director said: "Our own research found that millions of households across the UK pay for broadband speeds they never get.

"Consumers are continuing to be misled and more needs to be done by the regulator to ensure that broadband companies are holding up their end of the bargain. Companies should be providing the speeds they advertise, as well as ensuring customers can leave their contracts or get compensation when the service is not what was promised."

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