Privacy shouldn’t come at a price, and as consumers we are entitled to restrict unwanted direct marketing and have the right to privacy.
But, South Africa’s Wireless Application Service Provider’s Association (WASPA) code of conduct allows its members to charge consumers to opt-out of direct SMS marketing. But, the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) dictates that no fee may be charged for any opt-out.
So where does this leave consumers?
According to the CPA consumers must be able to unsubscribe from SMS marketing messages without having to pay for the opt-out (STOP) SMS.
“Networks and bulk SMS providers need to act with the consumer in front of mind to combat unwanted SMSs and ensure their privacy. The ideal solution would be for networks to reverse bill the bulk SMS service provider who then charges its client for the opt out SMS.” Says Charles Stretch, SMSPortal’s MD. “The industry needs to be accountable for the use of their services and police that it’s not being abused and ensure SMS recipients are not being contacted unwantedly.”
It is also important to remember that within the CPA it also states that a direct marketer must assume unless he has written consent from the consumer that they wish to receive direct marketing, that a ‘comprehensive pre-emptive block’ has been registered by the user. In layman’s terms this means that unless you have indicted that you want to receive communication from an organization, they cannot legally contact you. Which is why opting out, and any associated costs are an important issue.
Charles added that: “The emphasis should not be on the consumer to opt out, but on the direct marketer to act responsibly with personal information they hold.”
If you are charged to opt out, report it to your mobile network provider or WASPA.
Author: Kimberley Nanson
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Article source: http://mype.co.za/new/2014/02/privacy-shouldnt-come-at-a-price/