Uber South Africa in breach of WASPA rules – Industry expert

Update – Uber has provided comment on this topic, and the article has been updated to include the company’s response.


Uber South Africa is accused of flouting the code of conduct of the Wireless Application Service Providers’ Association (WASPA) with its SMS marketing.

An industry expert, who asked to remain anonymous, told MyBroadband that Uber ignored STOP requests and broke WASPA’s rules regarding when SMS marketing may be sent.

WASPA’s code of conduct requires a recipient to terminate a subscription or notification service by replying ‘STOP’ to any SMS sent to the customer regarding that service.

“As you can see from the screenshot below, I have replied “stop” twice to opt out, but Uber did not action my opt-out as required by WASPA,” he said.

Sending SMS marketing at times not allowed

WASPA’s code of conduct prohibits SMS marketing on Sundays, public holidays, and Saturdays before 09:00 and after 13:00, and between the hours of 20:00 and 08:00 on weekdays.

As shown in the screenshot above, sent to MyBroadband on Sunday 28 July, Uber sent a marketing SMS on Sunday at 20:24.

This breaks nearly every WASPA rule related to the times when SMS marketing messages are allowed to be sent in South Africa.

Uber’s response

In response to queries sent by MyBroadband, Uber said a system glitch caused some users to receive additional SMSs.

“We recently made a change to one of our marketing campaigns, during this change, there was a minor glitch that affected a small group of users who were sent additional SMSs,” an Uber spokesperson said.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused, we are working on having this fixed.”

Update – 31 July 2019

An Uber spokesperson told MyBroadband that they have implemented changes to correct the glitch that affected a small group of users who were sent additional SMSs.

“Those users that no longer wish to receive these SMSs will now be able to unsubscribe successfully, by replying ‘STOP’. Again, we apologise for any inconvenience caused,” she said.

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Uber South Africa in breach of WASPA rules – Industry expert