JOHANNESBURG. – MTN may not advertise “one day” data bundles without being clearer that a “day” could be as short as a couple of minutes if you buy that bundle late enough at night, the Advertising Regulatory Bureau (ARB) says.
In a ruling published this week, the regulator finds MTN makes “ambiguous and therefore misleading” offers in its app, and such advertisements must be withdrawn.
The ARB ruled specifically on “one day” data bundles, though MTN also offers seven-day versions. Such bundles come with both a cap on the amount of data and a very specific expiry data – which is always at midnight.
MTN did not defend its ads in the ARB proceedings. But it told the complainant who turned to the ARB that “when the data is valid for a day, it means that when the day ends at 00:01 the data will then expire.”
That is not necessarily an unfair interpretation of “day” the ABR held, and some buyers may understand it is such. At the same time, “others might understand it to last 24 hours from purchase. What is important is that the latter group of consumers, while being wrong, would not be unreasonable in that belief.”
That could lead to someone buying a data bundle valid for 15 minutes if they do so at 11:45pm, the ARB pointed out by way of example. Ambiguous advertising that can lead to such a situation is explicitly banned under ARB rules.