Following our investigation into SMS advertising sent to users by Discovery, a consumer has complained of another insurance company not complying with new regulations.
The Financial Services Board (now the FCSA) recently published new rules which require insurance companies to allow users to opt out of marketing SMSs at no cost.
These rules came into effect on 1 July 2018, meaning that currently no insurer may charge recipients any fee for opting out of advertising via SMS.
According to the revised rules, recipients of insurance advertising via a call, SMS, or voice message must be able to opt out of future direct marketing from the company, and not incur a network provider fee for sending a “Stop” SMS to do so.
A MyBroadband reader recently contacted us regarding a message sent to them from Bidvest advertising vehicle insurance, which he said fell short of these rules.
The message allowed the users to opt out via SMS – but they said they were still charged a network fee when sending the opt-out message.
The message received by the MyBroadband reader is below:
Keep your vehicle looking as good as new! Get Bidvest Scratch and Dent, from only R99.99 pm! Reply YES for a quote. Stop-optout. T&C. FSP44446
Bidvest Insurance general manager for direct insurance Imthiaz Yacoob told MyBroadband the company does not directly conduct its own direct marketing, and employs the services of various lead generation companies.
He noted that the new rules published by the FSB do apply to Bidvest Insurance, and said the insurer is investigating the issue with its marketing partners.
“We have requested feedback from the various providers around this,” he said.
“If it is found that this is not the case, we are happy to reimburse people where possible.”
Yacoob said that if any of its SMS marketing systems were found to be non-compliant, Bidvest Insurance would ensure users can opt out for free going forward.
“Bidvest prides itself on always meeting both the regulatory and customer-centric requirements.”
“We are happy to engage wherever we can for the benefit of customers, especially during these tough times,” he said.