Blue Label Data Solutions has been fined R25,000 following a complaint against Dischem for SMS spam.
According to a WASPA report (PDF link), the fine was issued to Blue Label Data Solutions as its platform was used by Dischem to send the messages.
A consumer lodged a complaint with WASPA against Dischem for sending unsolicited direct marketing messages “after repeated opt-out requests”.
The consumer said they received numerous SMS adverts, despite opting out – sending STOP – from Dischem’s marketing messages.
The report stated that the consumer also lodged an unsubscribe request with WASPA and contacted Dischem directly, which said it would remove their number from its database.
This did not stop the messages, however.
As Dischem is not a member of WASPA, the complaint submitted was directed to Blue Label Data Solutions – the messaging provider and a WASPA member.
Why the SMSs came through
Blue Label Data Solutions said it referred the consumer’s original complaint to Dischem, and said the opt-out to Dischem’s SMSs was received and logged.
Dischem also acknowledged that it received the opt-out request and it was actioned on its internal systems.
The reason the SMS adverts continued to be sent to the consumer, however, was because “other direct marketing campaigns had already been pre-set before the complainant’s opt-out request had been logged”.
This resulted in the consumer receiving additional messages, said Dischem in the report.
“Dischem stated it corrected its system again, but missed one of the pre-set files and a further marketing message was again sent to the complainant,” said WASPA.
It has now removed the consumer from any further communications and offered an apology.
WASPA stated that its members which provide services to companies like Dischem are responsible for correctly administering its customer database before sending out marketing messages.
In light of this, and the consumer receiving SMS adverts after sending STOP to Dischem, Blue Label Data Solutions was fined R25,000.
It was also formally reprimanded and told it must ensure that the recipients of direct marketing have given their consent to receive messages.