Discovery has responded to reports that users received direct marketing SMSs advertising Discovery life insurance which did not comply with new rules published by the Financial Services Board (now the FSCA).
The rules are part of a number of changes to its Policyholder Protection Rules (PPRs), which took effect on 1 July 2018.
The revised PPRs state that insurers may not charge users for sending opt-out SMSs in response to direct marketing. The user must also not be charged a network fee for the SMS.
However, a MyBroadband reader reported they received an SMS advertising Discovery’s life insurance products in July 2018 which charged them a network fee when sending an opt-out SMS.
The PPRs are not prescriptive as to which entity must carry the cost of the opt-out SMS, but they prohibit the policyholder footing the bill.
Discovery previously told MyBroadband it was investigating the issue reported by the consumer, and has now provided more information on the matter.
Blue Label Data Solutions
Discovery does not send advertising SMSs to its customers directly, and partners with marketing provider Blue Label Data Solutions for the messages.
The issue with noncompliance was a fault in the systems used by Blue Label Data Solutions, which has now been fixed, the company told MyBroadband.
“While Discovery Life does not deploy any SMS marketing directly, we work with a select set of highly-reputable marketing providers – chosen because of their ethical processes and sophisticated databases,” said Discovery.
“A prerequisite with our partners is that they comply with all applicable legislation and standards, including PPR.”
Blue Label Data Solutions head of campaign management Matt Nicholson said the issue was caused by delays in the set-up of zero-cost SMS numbers, requested from the company’s service provider.
“We started preparing for the implementation of changes to PPR legislation in January, but experienced delays in the set-up of the zero-cost SMS numbers… which impacted campaigns running early in July,” said Nicholson.
He added that customers who sent opt-out messages during this period would be refunded for their network charges by the company.
“The issue has been fully rectified and we apologise to affected consumers who opted out during this time, all of whom will be refunded with R2.00 in airtime.”