Broadband ads 'misleading consumers'
Misleading broadband adverts are hiding the real cost of contracts and making it too difficult for consumers to compare prices, a charity has warned.
Citizens Advice found that more than half of consumers (56%) were unable to identify the cheapest deal when comparing broadband offers.
The confusion means that potential customers could be left up to £197 out of pocket over the length of their contract, the charity said.
Their survey asked consumers to compare two deals and work out the price of a broadband contract based on adverts and marketing material on seven different providers' websites.
When looking at one particular advert, just over one in five (22%) was able to work out what they would pay on average per month for the deal.
The charity said broadband adverts typically prominently advertised a promotional period, which was often free or significantly lower than the overall cost of the contract.
It warned that the cost of line rental and the length of the promotional offer was usually included separately, and then often only in small print.
The poll also highlighted that 75% of consumers found the information in most broadband adverts too complicated to allow them to compare deals easily.
Citizens Advice is calling for the cost of line rental to be included in the headline price after 88% of consumers said this would make it easier for them to choose the best option.
Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy said: "Misleading broadband adverts are hiding the true cost of a contract."