The South African Advertising Regulatory Board has ordered MTN South Africa to stop misleading customers with its confusing daily data bundles. Apparently, MTN sells daily data bundles that it says are valid for a “day.” The thing is these data bundles are not valid for 24 hours as one would expect. They instead expire at midnight on the day you buy them. This means that a “day” may be as long as almost 24 hours to as little as a minute. Most customers would certainly not expect this to be the case.

, others might understand it [a day] 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.

The Advertising Board’s ruling

It is shocking that MTN did foresee such a problem arising given the ambiguous use of the word day and daily data bundles. Advertising rules in South Africa explicitly prohibit the use of such misleading advertising language. While the board agreed that MTN’s definition of the word day was acceptable it noted that some customers might assume the word day means 24 hours. It is very likely that MTN will simply change the validity of their daily bundles to 24 hours which is what they should have done in the first place. To their credit, MTN did not even bother to defend their position before the board.