EE scolded by advertising standards agency for ‘misleading’ maps

The mobile operator has been pulled up by the ASA for publishing maps that misled customers, raising coverage expectations to above what was available

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has instructed EE to stop using its online coverage checker after it ruled the tool had misled customers.

A complaint was submitted to the ASA by one of the operator’s users who had been on the website to see what coverage would be like in his home.

Despite the tool saying a signal within his postcode for 3G calls and internet would be “excellent,” he later discovered he had no mobile phone signal at home and a poor signal outside.

EE defended itself with small print, saying the checker offered “only a guide and not a guarantee,” and that it regularly checked the areas for coverage. But the ASA said the language of the advertising was not conditional and the overall impression of the ad insinuated fast, reliable coverage.

“We considered the ad did not make sufficiently clear that the claims that appeared under the ‘coverage results’ were intended as a guide and that coverage could be affected by a range of factors,” read the ruling. “We therefore concluded that the ad breached the code.”

The ASA has now told EE the checker cannot appear in its current form and the company is planning to make amendments before putting it back online. The agency also said EE must make it immediately clear that the coverage is conditional and does not guarantee the service stated.

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