What to do when SMS spammers won’t stop

If you reply STOP to an SMS marketing message, but the company continues to spam you and they are a member of WASPA, you should lay a complaint.

Speaking at a media event in Johannesburg, the industry association said it investigates complaints like these and sanctions companies who are found to be in violation of its code of conduct.

In April 2018, WASPA levied a fine of R25,000 against Blue Label Data Solutions for continuing to send marketing messages on behalf of Dischem to a user after that user had opted out.

WASPA general manager Ilonka Badenhorst said their code of conduct not only prohibits sending marketing messages after someone has opted out, but operates on an opt-in basis.

Badenhorst said WASPA takes a proactive approach to such matters, and while the Consumer Protection Act has taken an opt-out approach to direct marketing, the Protection of Personal Information Act will change it to an opt-in regime.

This means companies will have to get people’s permission to send them marketing messages.

The WASPA code of conduct already includes this opt-in provision, added Badenhorst.

National opt-out registry

Should a company not be a member of WASPA, however, there are other avenues to investigate.

You can report the spammer to the Direct Marketing Association of South Africa (DMASA), and register on the organisation’s National Opt-out Database.

However, as with WASPA, if the company is not a member of the DMASA, it is not subject to its rules.

WASPA provides incentives for companies to join the association, such as a platform to influence matters affecting the industry.

If you are a WASP contracted to a mobile network operator, you must typically be a WASPA member, said the association’s chair James McNab.

An alternative is to use an operator’s WASP platform.

While WASPA won’t have jurisdiction over such operators, the mobile networks will, and they have an incentive to keep rogue WASPs off their platforms to keep clients happy.

Block spam on your phone

If a spammer is not a WASP and reporting them to your mobile network operator yields no results, you can lodge a complaint with the National Consumer Commission.

A smartphone application such as Truecaller can also be used to screen and block spammers.

Truecaller offers anti-spam features for calls and SMS, and also has its own SMS messaging and phone dialler applications.

Now read: The reason Dischem continued to send SMS spam to a user who had replied STOP

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What to do when SMS spammers won’t stop