WASPA engages with public to refine code of conduct.

Published on: November 10, 2010

The South African Wireless Application Service Providers’ Association (WASPA) has released the latest version of its Code of Conduct after listening to and considering feedback and suggestions from the public.

The new version of the Code incorporates a number of changes and additions that offer even more peace of mind to consumers that use mobile applications, services and content provided by WASPA members.

WASPA members and the responsible steering committee hammered out the new version of the Code after debating comments they received from the public.

Two examples of suggestions from the public that WASPA has taken on board include a decision to invite a National Consumer Commission representative to attend Code Steering Committee workshops as an observer and a commitment to implement a simple Web form where consumers can easily submit spam complaints.

Said WASPA chairman, Leon Perlman: “WASPA has put this Code in place to ensure that our members behave in a manner that is ethical and fair to South African consumers. As such, it is only right that we spend some time listing to the concerns that consumers have about the industry and take their views about how WASPs should behave into account.”

WASPA’s Code Steering Committee was delighted by how keen the organisation’s members were to engage with suggestions from the public and how seriously they took the public’s concerns, he adds. “This vindicates self-regulation in our industry since our members truly understand how ethical and transparent behaviour makes business sense,” says Perlman.

One example of a change in the new version of the Code that is already making a difference for consumers is a requirement that a confirmation page must be displayed when a consumer indicates interest in signing up for a WAP subscription service. This confirmation page must be displayed after the subscriber has first indicated an interest in the subscription service by clicking on a “join” or similar link.

It must display the price and frequency of the service and the name of the service in a clear manner as well as provide a telephone number for customer support. This clause has already dramatically decreased consumer complaints about billing for WAP services in the few weeks since it was introduced a few weeks ago.

The Code of Conduct packs a real punch since WASPA can sanction members who break the rules with penalties that range from hefty fines to suspension from the organisation. It also provides a mechanism through which members of the public can address grievances with service providers that engage in bad practices like spamming or misleading consumers about subscription fees.

Concludes Perlman: “Each new version of our Code of Conduct, adds further protections for consumers, ensuring can be sure that they can enjoy WASP services in an environment that is fair and transparent to consumers and service providers alike.”