When you receive SMS spam and want to stop receiving these messages, you can reply with the word “STOP”. This message should be free.
The Consumer Protection Act (CPA) requires direct marketing companies to provide a mechanism for recipients to opt-out at no cost from these direct marketing messages.
The WASPA Code of Conduct states that “a member may not charge a consumer a fee for processing an opt-out request or for registering a pre-emptive block”.
It is therefore of concern that many companies which use SMS marketing do not offer consumers the free opt-out SMS.
Sending a STOP SMS will typically cost subscribers between 50c and 80c per SMS, which is in contravention of the CPA.
WASPs (Wireless Application Service Providers) do have the option to use a reverse-billing channel, which means the company instead of the consumer will foot the bill for an opt-out SMS.
These reverse-billing channels are seldom used, though, and the reason is simple: companies don’t want to pay for the SMS.
Many industry players have spoken out about this practice, which should come to an end in South Africa, they said.
SMSPortal CEO Charles Stretch said free opt-out SMS messages are not only best business practice, but are a WASPA, CPA, and POPI requirement.
“At SMSPortal we continue to encourage our clients not to bill users for opting out of SMS,” said Stretch.