Thursday, 25th October 2012 by Simon Hilliard
The ASA has been a little quite in tech matters lately, after a busy period of rulings on Twitter led campaigns earlier in the year. But recent complaints regarding T-Mobile’s mobile top up advertising has meant the regulator has waded in and redefined the word ‘forever’.
According to PC Pro, a ruling on the slogan “unlimited free texts forever” has changed the meaning of forever to “not literally forever”. The line is used by T-Mobile to advertise a PAYG top up offer; when a user tops up £10 a month or more they get free unlimited texts.
In response to two complaints brought to light through the ASA, T-Mobile stated the company has “no business plan to remove the offer from customers who had joined during the offer period and who continued to top up by at least £10 a month”. Of course, this doesn’t mean the text offer will literally last forever. Even if T-Mobile is committed to keeping the deal going, you have to imagine it won’t keep going indefinitely. Sadly these kinds of ‘unless of course’ T&Cs aren’t the close friends of those clever advertisers getting paid to write catchy slogans.
But the ASA is cool with it, putting a little more faith in the average consumer than the two complainants did. The regulator stated “We considered consumers were likely to interpret the claim as containing an element of advertising puffery and were unlikely to infer that texts would be available literally forever”. A common sense ruling, even if they did have to get a little dig in at the advertisers. Ouch.