WASPA Streamlines Code of Conduct for Better Consumer Protection

Published on: August 26, 2014

South Africa’s Wireless Application Service Providers’ Association (WASPA) has marked the occasion of the 10th anniversary of its founding by unveiling a vastly-simplified Code of Conduct to better protect the mobile consumer.

Formed in 2004 with a remit of representing and self-regulating the then fledgling wireless content and applications industry to ensure consumer protection in an ever changing technological landscape, WASPA now has in excess of 275 members with a 60/40 split between full and affiliate members.

Effective from 26 August 2014, Version 13.1 of the WASPA Code of Conduct is a completely new document to govern the way WASPA members interact with South Africa’s cellular users.

Significantly, WASPA has merged its Advertising Rules with the Code of Conduct in order to produce a single regulatory document. “This fresh Code of Conduct draws on the ever-changing technological landscape and WASPA’s ten years experience as a self-regulatory body to ensure that operating guidelines are perfectly clear to our members,” said Casper de Villiers, Chairman of WASPA.

Mr De Villiers added that being a self-regulatory body meant WASPA was able to continually fine-tune it’s Code of Conduct according to changing technologies and market circumstances.

After deciding some two years ago to completely revamp the Code of Conduct, the new Code was ratified by WASPA’s management committee on 26 May 2014. Members were given 90 days to become accustomed to the new Code by being allowed to operate according to either Version 13.1 or Version 12.4 until the old version fell away on 26 August 2014.

This grace period enabled WASPs to train compliance staff to ensure they are aware of the provisions of the new Code, notify clients and also adjusting marketing efforts to bring advertising in line with the Code.

According to WASPA’s Code of Conduct Committee, one of the most significant changes to the Code is that it has been aligned with the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act (ECTA), the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) and the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI). This means that members who align their activities with the WASPA code, will be in full compliance with the applicable legislation.

In addition, the section of the Code dealing with subscription services has been revamped for clarity and to align it with the cellular network operators’ “Double-Opt-In” process that protects cellular users from being subscribed to services without their express permission.

WASPA has also consolidated competition “terms and conditions” requirements into one section and provided a handy checklist members can use to ensure all necessary details are provided.

“Certainty around what is expected of members is paramount when it comes to the efficient operation of a self-regulating industry body such as WASPA. The relaunched and simplified WASPA Code of Conduct takes member certainty to new heights,” concluded Mr De Villiers.

The new code of conduct can be found on WASPA’s website www.waspa.org.za