University of Reading provides research into new TV, broadband and phone deals report
Release Date 20 February 2013
The University of Reading has been working with the Post Office to interpret research that found that nearly three-quarters of consumers found small print on TV, broadband and home phone bundle deals so difficult to understand that they didn't read it fully.
The findings were part of a new study released today, funded by Freeview and Post Office HomePhone and Broadband, which reveals that consumers find many TV, broadband and home phone bundle deals so undecipherable that they are confused as to what they've signed up to.
The study combined research among 3,000 consumers signed up to bundles with analysis of the presentation techniques used for current promotions by Professor Alison Black. As well as 72 per cent of people finding difficulty understanding the small print, the research also found that 42 per cent of consumers found themselves receiving higher bills than they were expecting.
Aside from cost, length of contract and exactly what the deal includes has also left customers in the dark. Over a third (39 per cent) said they rarely watch any of the TV channels they pay for and nearly half of respondents (47 per cent) don't know how long their current agreement lasts.
Nearly half (46 per cent) of respondents were put off signing up to a new supplier because they couldn't work out the best alternative. One in ten (10 per cent) abandoned switching all together as they found the process too complicated.
Professor Black found that service providers make things difficult for consumers by presenting information across different web pages, which they have to go to in order to gather the full costs, with some of the higher costs presented later than the initial deals that pull the consumer in.
Professor Black, from the University of Reading's Department of Typography & Graphic Communication and is Director of the University's Centre for Information Design Research, said: "Having reviewed the research, I analysed examples of bundle deal advertising across a range of providers. Many advertise six month offers but tie you in to 12 - 24 month long contracts. Whilst this is a completely legal practice and something that is replicated across advertising for many other products, it's easy to see how people find themselves unsure of what their bundle includes."