Why your bank can send you an account statement at 04:00 but not a marketing SMS

MyBroadband was recently contacted by an Investec Private Banking customer who received an SMS from the company at 04:02 on a Monday morning.

He said that statement SMSs were sent to multiple Investec customers at this time.

The SMS was a standard account statement and displayed the cash and reward balances for the recipient’s account.

The user said the timing of the SMS was inconvenient, and wanted to know why the company had sent them out at such an early hour. He also questioned whether the early hour of the SMS violated any industry rules.

To find out why the SMSs were sent out so early, MyBroadband spoke to Investec Private Banking.

System changes

Investec Private Banking told MyBroadband that only customers whose statements were processed on 1 October 2018 were affected by this early morning SMS statement.

“The SMS in question is generated automatically, and sent to clients on completion of our Private Bank Account statement run,” Investec stated.

“We have three different statement runs per month, so this did not affect all Investec clients. It only impacted clients whose statements were processed on 1 October.”

The bank said the statements were sent out so early in the morning due to a change in its statement run process.

“We made changes to our statement run process this month,” Investec said. “The statement run, however, completed a lot quicker than tested or expected, hence the timing of the SMS.”

“We have immediately implemented a change to the timing of the SMS. In future, the statement will only be sent after 08:00 and not when the statement run completes,” the bank added.

Consumer Protection Act

According to the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), users are protected from receiving unsolicited, direct marketing messages between 20:00 and 08:00 on weekdays.

MyBroadband asked Investec Private Banking whether it needed to comply with these regulations and the bank confirmed that these statement SMSs do not contravene the CPA.

“This is not a marketing message but rather an operational summary message,” Investec said.

“As a bank, we need to send this to clients to inform them of their account balance, rewards balance, amount due and due date.”

Investec apologised for sending the SMS statements to some of their customers so early in the morning.

“Investec Private Banking would like to apologise to the affected clients for the early hour of the distribution of the SMS and for any inconvenience caused,” the bank stated.

It is important to note that while this case does not contravene the rules of the CPA, SMSs sent to customers at this hour that advertise products or services would contravene the legislation.

The pertinent section of the CPA deals with direct marketing across all mediums, referring to unsolicited advertisements from companies attempting to sell their products.

Now read: How much money South Africans lose to cybercrime

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Why your bank can send you an account statement at 04:00 but not a marketing SMS