National Advertising Division (NAD)

NAD Recommends Charter Modify Comparative Advertising Claims for Spectrum 400 Mbps Internet Service

For Immediate Release 
Contact: Abby Hills, Director of Communications, BBB National Programs 

703.247.9330 / press@bbbnp.org 

New York, NY – September 17, 2020 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs recommended that Charter Communications, Inc. (Charter) modify the disclosure for its claim that Spectrum’s 400 Mbps internet speeds are “8x faster than AT&T’s,” and the claim that “AT&T/DirecTV simply can’t keep up,” to avoid conveying a misleading message about AT&T’s internet speed tier offerings. The claims, which appeared in a mailer for Spectrum internet and television services, were challenged by AT&T Services, Inc. (AT&T). 

With regard to the challenged claim “Experience the power of lightning-fast 400 Mbps Internet speeds; 8x faster than AT&T,” with the disclosure, “Services compared to AT&T Internet 50 & DIRECTV Select package per att.com; 08/05/19,” NAD considered the sufficiency of the disclosure, as well as the messages reasonably conveyed. In prior cases regarding quantified claims about internet speeds that are multiple times faster than a competitor, NAD has previously determined that not only must the basis of comparison be disclosed, but also that the advertising must not imply that a competitor does not have a more similar service available.  

After reviewing the claim in context, NAD recommended that Charter disclose the basis of comparison of its “8x faster” claim as part of the main claim, or in close proximity to the main claim so that it is clear and conspicuous and easy for consumers to notice, read, and understand, and further, avoid conveying a misleading message about AT&T’s internet speed tier offerings. 

AT&T also challenged the overall superiority claims that “Spectrum beats the competition” and that “AT&T/DirecTV simply can’t keep up.” NAD determined that, in the context presented by the mailer, at least one message reasonably conveyed by the claim that “AT&T/DirecTV simply can’t keep up” is that AT&T cannot match Spectrum’s touted 400 Mbps speed. Therefore, NAD recommended that Charter modify the claim to avoid conveying a misleading message about AT&T’s speed tier offerings.  

Finally, NAD recommended that, to the extent the advertiser makes the claim “Spectrum beats the competition” in future advertising, it should avoid conveying a misleading message about AT&T’s speed tier offerings.  

In its advertiser’s statement, Charter stated that it will comply with NAD’s decision. Charter further stated that “as a strong support of self-regulation [it] will clarify the basis for its claim that these [400 Mbps] speeds are 8x faster than AT&T in any future advertising.”  

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About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs is where businesses turn to enhance consumer trust and consumers are heard. The non-profit organization creates a fairer playing field for businesses and a better experience for consumers through the development and delivery of effective third-party accountability and dispute resolution programs. Embracing its role as an independent organization since the restructuring of the Council of Better Business Bureaus in June 2019, BBB National Programs today oversees more than a dozen leading national industry self-regulation programs, and continues to evolve its work and grow its impact by providing business guidance and fostering best practices in arenas such as advertising, child-directed marketing, and privacy. To learn more, visit bbbprograms.org. 

About the National Advertising Division: The National Advertising Division (NAD), a division of BBB National Programs, provides independent self-regulation and dispute resolution services, guiding the truthfulness of advertising across the U.S. NAD reviews national advertising in all media and its decisions set consistent standards for advertising truth and accuracy, delivering meaningful protection to consumers and leveling the playing field for business.