WASPA Statement Regarding Emergency Panel Ruling #30994 And #31004

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South Africa's Wireless Application Service Providers' Association (WASPA) is mandated by both the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and its members to provide monitoring of mobile application services offered by Wireless Application Service Providers (WASPs) to South African consumers.

The monitoring of services is carried out by WASPA’s Media Monitoring Team, who review services offered over a wide range of platforms, including TV, Radio, Print publications and the Internet to name a few.

Since WASPA’s inception in 2004, and the launch of the industry standard Code of Conduct which is endorsed by the MNO’s and adhered to by its members, as well as the introduction of Double Opt-in by the MNOs, consumer complaints have fallen by over 62%.

As part of the Code of Conduct, WASPA has put in place procedures for handling any matter that is perceived to be a breach of the Code of Conduct. Depending on the nature of the perceived breach, WASPA will initiate the relevant procedure based on the Media Monitoring Teams report in relation to the perceived breach. This ranges from informal liaisons with the member, to formal complaints to emergency panels. Emergency Panels are only held if there is a perceived immediate harm to the consumer and industry alike.

An emergency panel consists of 3 independent ICT adjudicators, who will then make a ruling based on the evidence provided by the complainant. Once the panel has convened and their findings compiled, the member is notified of any imposed sanctions by WASPA. As per the process set out within WASPA’s Code of Conduct, notifications are sent to the MNO’s and members alike highlighting the ruling.

In this particular case, the WASPA emergency panel ruling of 14th July 2016, it was perceived based on the evidence submitted by the complainant, that a service provided by a WASPA member was deemed to be fraudulent and posed immediate harm to consumers and the industry alike.

From the evidence provided, the breaches found are wholly attributed to the provider of the service and the mechanisms employed to subscribe a consumer to that service.

None of the processes utilized by the WASPA member or their client can be attributed to any other party, including the MNOs.

It is important to note that when an emergency panel is convened, it is to address the immediate perceived harm to consumers and the industry alike. Any such sanction imposed by an emergency panel is an interim decision, as the complaint procedure is still ongoing. This process may lead to monetary sanctions or expulsion from WASPA.

WASPA will make further comment as and when this process has been concluded.
 
Further WASPA statement on why no further information can be provided:

The Emergency Complaint procedure is invoked when there is prima facie evidence of potential ongoing harm to consumers. The Panel, consisting of three independent adjudicators who are ICT industry specialists, hands down a ruling which sets out an interim remedy. The purpose is to prevent any further potential harm pending the outcome of a formal investigation, which will take place in accordance with the Formal Complaints procedure.

The specific details (complaint, any evidence, the members response etc.) relating to the Emergency Panel complaint cannot be shared at this stage as the content thereof still forms part of an ongoing investigation. The ruling only sets out an interim remedy and due procedure needs to be followed. As such this information is still confidential until the Formal Complaints procedure has taken its course.
 
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