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BT flight offer complaints upheld by watchdog

The Advertising Standards Authority has criticised BT's offer of a free flight for every new broadband customer, which sparked a litany of complaints in our TalkBack forums
Written by Graeme Wearden, Contributor
BT suffered a stinging rebuke from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) on Wednesday for the poor running of its free flights promotion for new broadband customers.

The ASA upheld 11 separate complaints about the offer, after establishing that it had been so badly administered that some BT customers hadn't been able to take the flights to which they were entitled.

"The Authority... was concerned that some complainants had been unable to take advantage of the promotion because they had not received their vouchers within the 28 days stated or had not received confirmation of their flights until such a time that they were unable to take the flights booked," said the ASA.

The ASA also upheld two charges that some adverts promoting the scheme were misleading, and expressed doubts that the company running the promotion -- MKM Marketing & Promotions of Cheshire -- had made a reasonable estimate of the likely response.

The promotion, launched in May 2004, offered a free return flight to selected destinations in Europe and America to any new BT Broadband customer.

But, as first reported on ZDNet UK in September, people who tried to claim their flight soon ran into difficulties. Some found that they couldn't actually get the flights they wanted, while others encountered massive difficulties simply finding out how their application was progressing.

ZDNet UK's TalkBack facility was flooded with complaints from angry BT customers. Other TalkBacks related to free flight promotions offered by other companies but run by MKM.

BT admitted that hundreds of people had been affected by the problems. Rise Travel -- the division of MKM handling the promotions -- put some of the blame on the Post Office for failing to deliver application forms and vouchers in time.

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