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Now TV 'no contract' claims were not misleading - ASA

Wednesday, July 8th 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Adverts claiming that viewers do not need a contract to watch Now TV were not misleading, according to the UK’s advertising watchdog.

Six people complained that the claim ‘no contract’ was misleading as monthly passes for the service automatically renew unless they are cancelled.

Following an investigation, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the monthly Now TV passes technically did constitute legal contracts.

But it decided that consumers would understand the claim to mean there was no long-term commitment or minimum term contract, and so did not uphold the complaints.

The investigation centred around two TV ads, an on demand advert, an online pop-up and text on the Now TV website.

All five ads claimed that consumers could watch movies or TV shows on Now TV without a contract and told viewers that both the Sky Movies and Entertainment monthly passes renewed automatically until cancelled.

Sky, which owns the streaming service, said its aim was to communicate that Now TV is flexible, allowing customers to dip in and out at their convenience.

'No long-term commitment'

It said rolling monthly contracts were commonplace for streaming services and believed the average consumer would be aware of this.

The ASA said the claim ‘no contract’ was unlikely to mislead consumers.

“We considered that the average consumer would understand, in the context of the ads, that the claim meant that there was no long-term commitment or minimum term associated with the products beyond the period already paid for (or subject to a free trial) and that there were no cancellation charges,” said the ASA.

“We understood that the entertainment and movies passes renewed automatically each month but that there was no minimum term and they could be cancelled at any time with no notice period or cancellation fee.”

Earlier this year, the ASA found that claims of 99.9% Sky broadband network reliability were likely to mislead consumers.

The watchdog found that the broadband page of sky.com could lead consumers to think the near 100% figure referred to how reliable their overall service would be.

This is despite small print explaining that the figure related to connections to local exchanges.

The ruling came as a result of an investigation following a complaint from rival broadband provider Virgin Media.

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